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New York Salt Warning Aims to Cut Heart Disease

December 7, 2015
Public Health

From last week, restaurants in New York City with at least 15 outlets across America have been obliged to warn consumers about levels of salt in their meals. Dishes with more than 2.3g of salt, which is equivalent to one teaspoon, are accompanied on menus by a symbol of a salt shaker in a black triangle. It’s estimated the warning symbol applies to about 10% of menu items, while multiple chains account for up to a third of New York’s restaurant business.

Sonia Angell, a deputy commissioner with the New York City health department, said “When we eat too much sodium, our blood pressure can go up. This is something that we can control and we really feel like these icons are something that can help consumers that choose to make decisions about the amount of salt in their diet, make those decisions easier.”

Premises failing to use the warning symbols will be fined $200, although city health officials have said they will not be fully enforcing the new provisions until early next year. A 2010 study showed that New Yorkers consume more than 3.2g of salt each day, which is well above the 2.3g recommended daily limit.

Cardiovascular disease is the largest cause of death in the city claiming almost 17,000 lives in 2013. New York is the first city to take active measures against salt contents having already banned Trans fats in meals. It’s unclear at the moment whether salt producers will challenge the new ruling in the courts.