NYC Pushing for High-Salt Warnings in Chain Eateries

Would be first US city to make restaurants dish on what meals are high sodium
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2015 12:48 PM CDT
NYC Pushing for High-Salt Warnings in Chain Eateries
NYC may become the first US city to require high-sodium warnings in chain restaurants.   (Shutterstock)

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg first took on Big Salt by setting up the National Salt Reduction Initiative, which encourages restaurants and food manufacturers to voluntarily reduce the sodium found in their fare. Now current Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is getting into the act: The city's Department of Health is expected to propose today that the City That Never Sleeps takes a step toward becoming the City That Never Shakes by requiring chain restaurants to call out menu items that contain more than the recommended daily limit of sodium, which is currently 2,300mg, or about one teaspoon of salt, the AP reports. Those dishes would be designated by a salt-shaker-style icon on the restaurant's menu, which advocates of the plan say would give consumers the info they need to make more-educated decisions about what to order.

Not everyone is thrilled with the idea. The head of the Salt Institute, an industry trade group, tells the AP it's "misguided" and uses "faulty, incorrect government targets" that could actually be harmful. And the president of the New York State Restaurant Association tells the New York Times it would rub salt in the wounds of restaurants that are already heavily regulated. If the proposal goes through, 10% or so of items on menus would get the salt-shaker designation, the paper notes. If the vote to consider the proposal is successful today, a final vote could come in September, with warnings appearing in restaurants by December, the AP reports. Meanwhile, on the Left Coast, San Francisco passed legislation that requires health warnings on ads for sugary beverages, bans such promotions on public property, and prohibits city money from being used to purchase soda, NBC News reports. (The salt controversy continues: Some say too much is harmful, others say too little is.)

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