New York City is set to begin a new era of food labelling by requiring chain restaurants to specifically label foods that exceed the daily recommended levels of salt intake. The sodium warning goes into effect on Tuesday, December 1, and will appear on items that contain 2,300 milligrams or more of sodium.
The warning will include combo meals that may include soup and a sandwich or a burger and fries. This new rule also requires that a warning statement be posted where people place their orders. The statement will explain that the salt shaker icon means the items exceed daily sodium recommendations and that high-sodium diets can increase blood pressure and the risk for heart disease and stroke.
New York City is the first city to require national chains to issue these warnings. Chains with 15 or more locations have 90 days to comply with the rule before fines will be issued. This rule was passed, unanimously, by the New York City Board of Health in September.
"The vast majority of adults in New York City consume more sodium than recommended, and too few understand the link between high sodium intake and hypertension, heart disease, and stroke," Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said. "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. These icons will help New Yorkers make more informed choices when dining out."
[bctt tweet="NYC's Genius Salt Warning Icon Hits Chains This Week"]
Restaurateurs are understandably not thrilled by this rule. They believe that healthy eating initiatives should not single out any particular ingredient and that New York City shouldn't create its own warning system while the federal regulators are working on new sodium-intake guidelines.
In recent history, New York City has banned trans fat from restaurant meals and forced chains to post calorie totals on their menus. The city even tried, unsuccessfully, to limit the size of some sugary beverages.
What do you think of this rule? Is NYC going too far and making it difficult for restaurants to succeed in selling product or are they making the right moves toward a greater, healthier population?
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