NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Big changes are coming to chain restaurants across New York City.
The city Board of Health voted unanimously Wednesday 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.
The new rule is set to take effect Dec. 1.
New York is now the first city in the nation with such a requirement, which comes as officials and experts urge Americans to eat healthier.
“This really represents, to me, the next step in allowing usable information for our community to make better health decisions,” said board member Dr. Deepthiman K. Gowda. “My hope is that this impacts not only consumer practices but also impacts the practices of our restaurants.”
City officials argue they’re just saying “know,” not “no,” about foods high in a substance that experts say is too prevalent in most Americans’ diets, raising the risk of high blood pressure and potentially heart attacks and strokes.
Health Board member Dr. Deepthiman Gowda said he hopes the mandate will not only help consumers make healthier choices, but also spur a change in recipes, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
“Not only impacts consumer practices, but also impacts the practices of our restaurants,” Dr. Gowda said.
Public health advocates applaud the proposal, but salt producers and restaurateurs call it a misguided step toward an onslaught of confusing warnings.
“This is another example of the government creating policy based on outdated, incorrect sodium guidelines that have been refuted by 10 years of research,” Lori Roman, President of the Salt Institute, said in a statement Wednesday before the vote. “Research shows Americans already eat within the safe range of sodium consumption and population-wide sodium reduction strategies are unnecessary and could be harmful.”
The measure will apply to an estimated 10 percent of menu items at the New York City outlets of chains with at least 15 outlets nationwide, city Health Department Deputy Commissioner Sonya Angell said. Those chains account for about 1/3 of the restaurant traffic in the city, she said.