Campbell Soup Company and Target Corporation–both giants in the retail food industry—are among the latest companies to join the National Salt Reduction Initiative’s (NSRI) sodium reduction goals.

Camden, NJ-based Campbell Soup is a 142-year old global manufacturer and marketer of soups, sauces, baked snacks, and beverages under such brands as Campbell’s, Pepperidge Farm, Arnott’s and V8.

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation owns 1,755 retail stores in 49 states nationwide and operates In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products.

Others joining the NSRI include Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant, Black Bear European Style Deli, Dietz & Watson, Ken’s Foods, and Snyder’s-Lance Inc.  The restaurant and retail companies joined the program, which involves specific targets for salt reduction in 62 categories of packaged food and 25 categories of restaurant food.

The new companies joining the NSRI are making commitments covering such products as hot dogs, salad dressing, soup and crackers.  The NSRI said new companies are working on reducing salt in high sodium products.

High blood pressure is a “predictable result” of current sodium levels in the American food supply, says Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner.  His office is managing the NSRI.

“Population-wide sodium reduction is key to reversing pervasive high blood pressure that can result in death due to heart disease and stroke,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association.

She said the potential health benefits of the salt reduction initiative “are enormous.”

Campbell’s Denise Morrison said the company wants to extend its low sodium choices.  A single serving of Campbell’s “Soup at Hand” with Chicken and Noodles contains 730 mg of sodium, about half the recommended daily allocation.

New Yorkers consume about 3,150 mg of sodium daily, double what a healthy salt-intake would be. The NSRI’s target is to cut the sodium content of packaged and restaurant food by 25 percent, cutting the nation’s intake of salt by 20 percent.

If successful it could save thousands of lives each year.  Numerous state and local health organizations are involved in the NSRI.