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Pepsi, Kraft announce healthy food products

Mar 18, 2010 8:50am
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(NECN/ABC) - The nation's largest food maker has announced its plans to cut sodium levels in its products within two years.  The announcement comes the day after a leading seller of soft drinks said it will stop selling sugary drinks at elementary schools within the same time frame.    

Kraft Foods says it will cut salt in its North American products by 10-percent within two-years --  about 10-million pounds of salt. 

"After a while everyone will get used to a lower salt taste and I think that will be a really good thing," NYU nutritionist Prof. Marion Nestle said.

Four years ago, corporate America tried to get ahead of the health curve by joining the "Healthy Schools" program.  Today the results are mixed.    

MacDonalds will give nutrition info on its burgers, if a customer asks for it.    

Sony Pictures wants to offer fruit at theatre concession stands, along with that 1,100 calorie bucket of popcorn.    

Pepsi said this week it will keep a promise made two years ago to ban all full-sugar soft drinks in elementary and secondary schools by 2012.  But rival Coca Cola will only ban its drinks at elementary schools -- despite studies showing the average boy consumes 72-pounds of sugar a year by drinking two sodas a day. 

"Unfortunately, that company's doing nothing to reduce the caloric content in soft drinks in high schools," Bruce Silverglade of Science for Public Interest said.    

First Lady Michelle Obama is urging parents to keep the pressure on, telling grocery store owners that how food is sold is just as important as what is sold. 

"It's not enough just to limit ads for foods that aren't healthy -- it's going to be so critical to increase marketing for foods that are healthy," Mrs. Obama said.

Twinkies, she told them, do not need the warning labels like cigarettes.  But parents need to know what is in the Twinkie.   

For its part, Coca Cola says it will pull sugary soft drinks from elementary schools, unless parents or school officials say they want the drinks on campus.  Many school districts supplement their budgets by taking some of the profits from soft-drink sales on campuses.

ABC's Brad Wheelis reports in the video player above.

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