New York – Since this Tuesday, chain restaurants in New York City will have to show warnings on high-sodium food under a new law approved by the New York City Board of Health.
Any item on the menu with a salt shaker icon beside it contains at least 2,300 milligrams of sodium, which is the daily recommended dose.
The measure, that means to control salt consumption, was approved on September. The average American consumes about 3,400 mg of salt per day, a number much higher that the recommended doses. Health department officials insist the warnings are necessary because most New Yorkers consume too much salt, which can lead to hypertension, heart disease and strokes.
“These warnings are needed in restaurants because the majority of sodium in our diet is not coming from what we decide to add with the salt shaker at the table, it’s already in the food when we buy it,” Dr. Mary Bassett, New York City Health Commissioner said in a statement.
The rule applies only to restaurants with at least 15 different locations across the U.S.. It does not limit how much sodium can be contented in food and it won’t penalize restaurants that serve food with more than the recommended daily amount. The city will collect $200 fines to restaurant that does not show the symbol in their menus from March 1st.
On the other hand, The National Restaurant Association decided to fight back. They plan to file a lawsuit against New York City’s health department claiming this requirement harms many of New York’s small businesses that have been working hard to provide nutritional access to their customers, and not to corporate chains –like the Board of Health thinks.
The National Restaurant Association plants to repeat what they did along with many others back in 2012. After the city’s Board of Health passed a rule limiting the size of sugary drinks, the association sued to block the regulation. The New York State Court of Appeals ruled the board “exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority.”
This is not the first time the biggest city of the country applies a similar public health initiative. Under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city banned smoking, required calorie counts and tried to set limits on sugary drinks. Now, Mayor Bill de Blasio is following his predecessor’s steps in public health matters.
Source: The Wall Street Journal