FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES PROGRESS IN REDUCING SALT IN PREPACKAGED AND RESTAURANT FOODS THROUGH THE NATION'S FIRST VOLUNTARY SALT REDUCTION INITIATIVE IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, May 2, 2010
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Did you know that the vast majority of salt in our diets - some 80%, in fact - doesn't come from our saltshakers it's already in our meals by the time they hit the dinner table. That means most of us are consuming far more salt than we should - and we don't even realize it.
"Food manufacturers and restaurants typically load up their products with salt - often as a preservative or for leavening purposes. And a lot of the time - especially in the case of breads and muffins - these foods don't even taste salty… which is why Americans now get nearly twice the recommended daily amount of salt, without even trying.
"We all need a certain amount of sodium, but too much can cause high blood pressure, which in turn leads to heart disease and in some cases stroke - two major killers in our country. That's why our Administration has spearheaded an ambitious, voluntary national campaign - comprising prominent health organizations as well as health departments from other cities and states - all with the goal of lowering the level of salt in food products.
"Reducing the amount of sodium in our diets has been a public health priority for 40 years - but in that time the problem has only gotten worse. So why do we think our initiative will be any different? Because we've accomplished something that's never been done before - and that many thought was impossible: We've worked in concert with the biggest food manufacturers to set concrete, achievable goals that we all can agree on.
"Last week, 16 food companies voluntarily signed on to the effort - including such household names as Kraft, Starbucks, Heinz, Subway and Fresh Direct. They've pledged to reduce the level of salt in many of the products that we all enjoy. And they'll do it without compromising quality and without sacrificing taste - by phasing in the changes over time so that our taste buds don't even notice.
"With the help of these first 16 companies - and of even more companies to come - we're aiming to lower the amount of salt in the average American's diet by 20% by 2014. In doing so, we hope to save some of the more than 23,000 New Yorkers - and 800,000 Americans - who needlessly die each year from heart disease and stroke.
"It's an ambitious undertaking, but we know it can be done - and we also know that this can be the start of a larger, broader public health movement. When we in New York City eliminated smoking in bars and restaurants… and when we banned trans fats and mandated calorie-posting at restaurants… many people predicted it wouldn't work. But just the opposite happened - it did make a difference, people like it, and other cities and countries followed our lead.
"Now New York City will do it again.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address