Last updated at 9:07 AM on 10th November 2010
As the winter months are drawing in, most people like nothing better than to sit down to a big, hot, bowl of soup.
But New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stepped up his campaign to get the city’s residents to eat healthier and has now targeted the winter-warmer as one of the big offenders.
A new advertising campaign has been launched trying to get people to cut down on their salt intake and Mr Bloomberg said canned soup is one of the biggest culprits.
The ads which will be plastered on subways for the next two months features a half-opened can of soup with salt spewing from the top of it and surrounding the can.
Salt-aholics will be warned that too much sodium ‘can lead to a heart attack and stroke’.
Sodium content of foods like salad dressing and frozen pizza will also be put on the ads to let consumers know of the hidden dangers.
Mr Bloomberg who has admitted dumping salt on his own meals said processed food contain a high amount of sodium leading people to eat a high-salt diet, sometimes unwittingly.
No soup in this kitchen: Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants the winter warmer banned because of its high levels of salt
Soup giant Campbell’s are not very impressed with the new campaign and said the posters are ‘not an accurate representation of the company’s soup portfolio’, spokeswoman Juli Mandel Sloves said.
‘Campbell’s is an acknowledged leader in sodium reduction. We have been reducing sodium across our portfolio for decades’, Ms Sloves added.
The cost of the $370,000 campaign will be shared between city taxpayers and federal government according to a city Department of Health spokeswoman.
The campaign is perfectly timed as with the colder months closing in, most families will be putting soup on the menu to keep warm but may now have to consider an alternative if they want to lower their sodium intake.
Mr Bloomberg and New York Governor David Paterson have also asked the U.S. government to ban the use of food stamps to buy sugary drinks as part of its anti-obesity campaign.
Mr Bloomberg wants the purchase of fizzy drinks and sweetened fruit drinks with the federal vouchers used by 42million low-income families to be banned.
They called sugar-sweetened beverages the largest single contributor to the obesity epidemic.
Mr Bloomberg said: ‘This is so simple. It’s not like a disease like cancer we don’t know how to cure.
‘This we know how to cure. Stop eating extra calories.
‘There’s nothing wrong with an occasional one. But the kids are drinking an enormous amount of full-sugar beverages and they would switch to diet beverages.
‘So next time one of the companies calls, I’m sorry. Our children’s lives are more important than anything else.’
The New York mayor has used the power of the city government to promote a range of health measures, including cuts on the amount of salt, a ban on trans fats in restaurant food and a requirement for chain restaurants to display calorie counts.
New York Governor David Paterson had asked the U.S. government to ban the use of food stamps to buy sugary drinks as part of its anti-obesity campaign
In 2003, the city banned smoking in bars and restaurants which sparked furious protest at the time but has since become widely accepted.
Mr Paterson has also sought to combat obesity and raise money with a proposed tax on sugary drinks, but it was blocked by pressure from the beverage industry.
The American Beverage Association criticised the proposal as ‘just another attempt by government to tell New Yorkers what they should eat and drink, and will only have an unfair impact on those who can least afford it’.
Nearly 40 per cent of New York public school children are obese, while overall obesity rates are 30 per cent in the poorest households compared to 17 per cent in the wealthiest.
Obesity-related illnesses cost the state nearly $8billion in medical costs per year, a joint statement from the city and state said.
Around 1.7million New York City residents – and 2.9million statewide – receive food stamps.
They cannot be used to buy other products deemed harmful including alcohol and tobacco.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the food stamp programme, said it would ‘review and consider’ the proposal.