Update 2/25/16: The New York State Supreme Court has ruled that NYC can fine restaurants for failing to add sodium warnings on certain menu items.
In case you missed it, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene just took yet another step toward improving the lives of the people that frequent chain restaurants (establishments with 15 or more locations) in NYC. With a new salt shaker symbol, which will appear on menu items that offer 2,300mg or more in an entrée or combo meal, is designed to inform patrons of these establishments just how much salt they are consuming. Sorry NYC, but the truth is that your pizza, bread and more contain significantly more sodium than you realize. Luckily, your health department has your back.
It may not surprise you that this symbol has been met with mixed feelings and controversy. However, it is well known that Americans struggle to stay under the daily recommended amount of sodium. The current guideline is set at 2,300mg and drops to 1,500mg for Americans at risk, which includes individuals age 51 and over, African Americans and anyone diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. According to the CDC, Americans have a salt problem and we’re teaching our kids to have one too as presently 9 out of 10 children exceed the recommended 2,300mg and sadly 1 in 6 also have elevated blood pressure, a condition usually associated with adults. It’s clear that we need to tackle this extreme problem with broad measures that offer Americans the support they need to be successful at reducing their sodium intake.
Like it or not, we need and should applaud the actions of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Once again they are on the forefront of the fight against nutrition related disease. And once again, it won’t be surprising if other US cities are noting how they did it and plan to introduce the same to their communities.