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Judge Preserves New York City’s Sodium Symbols on Menus

Statement of CSPI President Michael F. Jacobson

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A judge has refused the restaurant lobby’s attempt to kill sodium symbols on menus.

New Yorkers won an important victory today for their health. Today, State Supreme Court Judge Eileen Rakower ruled that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene can enforce its requirement for restaurants to tell consumers which dishes have a day’s worth or more of sodium. That rule may well lessen the burden of heart disease and stroke, especially for minority populations who suffer disproportionately from those illnesses.

The science is clear, not controversial: eating less salt reduces the risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. Allowing diners to make an informed decision by telling them which dishes have 2,300 or more milligrams of sodium – the recommended daily limit, according to the National Academy of Medicine and the recently released Dietary Guidelines for Americans – is a modest and reasonable public health intervention.

We hope that other local and state governments will follow New York City’s lead and both provide their citizens this basic and potentially life-saving information and encourage restaurants to use less salt.

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