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NYC Restaurants Required to Warn Customers of Excess Salt

Statement of CSPI President Michael F. Jacobson

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New York restaurant goers–unlike other Americans–will be better informed starting tomorrow whether they are getting a day’s worth of sodium in a single highly salted menu item, raising their risk of a deadly heart attack or stroke.

Beginning tomorrow, restaurants in New York City will be required to post on menus a salt shaker icon next to a single menu item containing 2,300 or more milligrams of sodium–about a teaspoon of salt–and state in a prominent location that that is as much as they should consume in a single day.

It is encouraging that Applebee’s has chosen to be an industry leader and is already complying with the new requirement. Even better that Panera Bread has chosen to reduce sodium in a few of their menu offerings and says they are committed to doing more.

Restaurants will actually have until March 1 to comply with this New York City Board of Health requirement, but city inspectors will begin educating them on their responsibility tomorrow. Other restaurant chains should quickly follow Applebee’s lead.

Moreover, cities and counties across the country would do well to give their citizens this same potentially life-saving information. High sodium content is probably the single most harmful aspect of our food supply. Sensible warning notices will prompt restaurants to use less salt and help consumers reduce their risk of stroke or heart attack.

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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).