PHILADELPHIA – Dietz & Watson’s deli meat and artisan cheese products already meet the New York City Department of Health's National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI) 2012 and 2014 standards in the deli meat and firm and semi-firm cheese categories. The company’s franks and cream cheese meet the 2012 NSRI standards, plus it plans to achieve the 2014 standards for both.

“The National Salt Reduction Initiative marks a great turning point for the food industry and consumers concerned with health,” said Louis Eni, CEO. “We are proud that we’ve met the 2014 standards three years ahead of schedule, and have met them since the late 70s, but we plan to work hard to decrease the sodium content of more of our products without compromising the high quality and flavor we’re known for.”

In 2010, the New York City Health Department began the NSRI to prevent heart attacks and strokes by lessening the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant foods. The initiative formed a coalition of cities, states and health organizations working to help food manufacturers and restaurants voluntarily reduce the amount of sodium in their products.

Already having met the 2012 NSRI standards for hot dogs, the company is pledging to achieve the 2014 standards for its line of premium frankfurters, including its All Beef Franks, Black Angus Franks and Deli Franks.

“Through our extensive Healthier Lifestyle line launched in 1979, we have been offering lower sodium, healthy choices for three decades, and the NRSI is just another example of our commitment to our customers and quality,” Eni said.

Sodium levels of Dietz & Watson’s deli meats already meet the NSRI’s 2012 standard of 980mg of sodium per 100g and the 2014 standard of 810mg per 100 g. Dietz & Watson’s artisan cheeses meet the 2012 standard of 630mg of sodium per 100g and the 2014 standard of 600mg per 100g. Dietz & Watson’s franks meet the 2012 target of 950mg of sodium per 100g, and its cream cheese meets the 2012 standard of 390mg per 100g.

Each day Americans consume approximately twice the recommended limit of salt with only 11% of the sodium coming from consumer added salt and nearly 80% from packaged and restaurant foods. Diets high in salt lead to increased blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attacks and stroke, causing more than 800,000 deaths nationwide each year. The goal of the NSRI is to reduce Americans' salt intake by 20% over five years, which has been estimated will save lives and billions of dollars in health-care costs.