-- Your favorite New York pizza slice might now come with a warning label thanks to a new regulation in New York City that aims to make consumers aware of salt levels in their food.
In the battle to ensure consumers know exactly what they're getting in a meal, chain restaurants in New York are being required to issue salt "warnings" starting today for foods with an outsized amount of sodium. The warnings apply only to foods that exceed the current daily recommended amount of sodium, which is 2,300 milligrams or about the amount in 1 teaspoon of table salt.
"We've developed as a culture a liking for that salty taste," Kramer said. "But we can also undo that," by dropping sodium levels.
While some sodium is necessary, people can usually get enough salt from meat and other items in which sodium occurs naturally, Kramer explained.
The National Restaurant Association, a trade organization, has said they plan to file suit against the New York City Department of Health in order to curtail the use of salt warning labels.
The association is pushing for a uniform menu and believes local regulations like the salt warning labels could unravel plans for that uniformity. Additionally, they said the costs associated, including reprinting menus, could be a financial burden for the restaurant owners.
"With its sodium mandate, not only is the Board [of Health] inflicting financial burden on restaurants, it is imposing on both restaurant owners and consumers, a view regarding the health effects of sodium intake that is the subject of scrutiny based on recent and evolving scientific research," the association said in a statement. The Board of Health is the governing body that oversees the Department of Health.
“While the Board of Health thinks they are targeting corporate chains, in reality they are dealing yet another blow to many of New York’s small businesses that have been working and continue to work hard to provide nutritional access to their customers," the association added.
New York City is the first U.S. city to pass the requirement and currently it only applies to chain restaurants. The city has been at the forefront of trying to promote healthy dining and passed a requirement nearly a decade ago that chain restaurants post calorie counts in a bid to encourage diners to lower their calorie intake.