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Salt Warnings in New York Here to Stay After Judge Upholds Ordinance

Image: Salt Warnings in New York Here to Stay After Judge Upholds Ordinance
The logo of a salt shaker, meant to warn consumers of high sodium content in food, appears on an Applebees menu on December 1, 2015 in New York City. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 25 Feb 2016 09:49 AM

The salt warning that shook up the New York City restaurant scene is here to stay, a judge decided this week in a ruling that denied the National Restaurant Association's effort to nix it.

On Wednesday, New York State Supreme Court Judge Eileen Rakower upheld the city ordinance that requires larger chain restaurants to mark menu items containing more than 2,300 milligrams (or about a teaspoon) of salt with a warning icon or risk a $200 fine, Forbes reported.

"Some people just love salty foods, and they're going to go ahead and eat those foods regardless of whether they have a salt icon next to them," Rakower said, according to Bloomberg Business. "It's not a ban. It’s information. It’s a warning."

Preston Ricardo, an attorney for the National Restaurant Association, told Bloomberg that the organization plans to appeal the ruling. According to Ricardo, the warning icon, which appears as a salt shaker, is a "dark, thermonuclear-looking symbol, which we all associate with poison."

The restaurant association believes that the New York City board of health has gone beyond its authority and feels the ordinance has opened the floodgates for additional government regulation, Bloomberg noted.

City health department attorney Thomas Merrill tried to put some distance between the salt warning and the city's sugary drink ordinance, proposed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2012 and later was rejected by the courts. That controversial ordinance would have stopped the sale of soft drinks larger than 16 ounces, The New York Times reported.

"Warnings can be followed or they cannot be followed," Merrill said in court, according to The Times.

Merrill told the court that the health department has the right to warn consumers about salt consumption since high levels of sodium are linked to heart disease and hypertension.

The ordinance went into effect late last year, with The Times reporting that chains including Subway, T.G.I. Friday's, Applebee's, and Regal Entertainment Group were already placing the salt warning labels next to menu items.

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The salt warning that shook up the New York City restaurant scene is here to stay, a judge decided this week in a ruling that denied the National Restaurant Association's effort to nix it.
salt, warnings, new york, judge
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2016-49-25
Thursday, 25 Feb 2016 09:49 AM
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