Mayor Bloomberg's crusade to cut NYC and America's salt intake has gained some powerful new allies. Earlier this year, Heinz and Starbucks were among the first 16 companies who pledged to voluntarily slash the amount of sodium in their products, as part of the city Health Department's National Salt Reduction Initiative. The initiative's goal is to reduce sodium in restaurant and packaged foods by 25 percent over five years, with the voluntary cooperation of national and international companies. Now six more companies have joined forces with Bloomberg, including Butterball, which has agreed to reduce sodium in its deli meat and hot dogs.

Also signed up for the salt assault are Snyder’s of Hanover, the nation’s largest pretzel maker; Hostess; Premio sausages; Furmano’s (canned beans, baked beans and tomatoes); and Delhaize America, which has 1600 supermarkets along the East Coast, including Bottom Dollar Food, Hannaford, Food Lion, Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid's. The company has promised to reduce sodium levels in the products it manufactures across 22 packaged-food categories, including frozen pizza, cereal and butter. And Heinz, not content with just cutting salt in ketchup, has expanded its sodium cutbacks to frozen pizza and entrees.

The Health Department claims this broad effort to cut the salt "will reduce the nation’s salt intake by 20% and prevent tens of thousands of deaths each year due to conditions caused by high blood pressure." But the statistical data will probably be skewed by Guardian Angel Curtis Sliwa, who appeared on NY1 in January to pour Morton's salt down his throat while declaring "You're gonna have to pry this salt out of my cold, dead hand."