Salty fare from sandwiches to salads will soon come with a first-of-its-kind warning label at chain restaurants in New York City. The city Board of Health voted unanimously today to require chain eateries to put salt-shaker symbols on menus to denote dishes with more than the recommended daily limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium. That's about a teaspoon. New York is the first US city with such a requirement. The measure will apply to an estimated 10% of menu items at the New York City outlets of chains with at least 15 outlets nationwide, said city Health Department Deputy Commissioner Sonya Angell.
Those chains account for about one-third of the restaurant traffic in the city, she said. The average American consumes about 3,400 mg of salt each day. Only about one in 10 Americans meets the one teaspoon guideline. The vast majority of dietary salt comes from processed and restaurant food, studies show. Consumers may not realize how much sodium is in, say, a Panera Bread Smokehouse Turkey Panini (2,590 mg), TGI Friday's sesame jack chicken strips (2,700 mg), a regular-size Applebee's Grilled Shrimp 'n Spinach Salad (2,990 mg), or a Subway footlong spicy Italian sub (2,980 mg).