NEW YORK - The New York City Health Department is asking food manufacturers and restaurant owners to cut down on the amount of salt they use.

Health officials plan to release guidelines restricting the maximum amount of salt in packaged foods, including frozen meals and canned vegetables. According to the department, eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure and other health problems.

The plan, which officials call the National Salt Reduction Initiative, will be voluntary and companies will not be penalized for ignoring the salt suggestions. Experts say Americans consume about double the amount of salt they should.