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SODIUM WARNING RULE LEGAL BATTLE ENDS, REVIEW DEADLINE PASSES

Saturday, April 29, 2017  
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SODIUM WARNING RULE LEGAL BATTLE ENDS, REVIEW DEADLINE PASSES

All chain restaurants are mandated to display a salt shaker icon on their menus to mark items that contain 2,300 mg of sodium or more

April 27, 2017 – The Health Department today announced that the year-and-a-half legal battle for the Board of Health’s sodium warning rule has ended (National Restaurant Association v. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene et al.). After an intermediate appellate court upheld the rule, the National Restaurant Association had 30 days to ask New York’s highest court to review the decision. That deadline has passed, meaning that sodium warning icons will remain on menus. Since February 2016, when a lower court first ruled in favor of the City, the sodium warning icon has appeared on chain restaurant menus and menu boards next to any item with 2,300 mg of sodium, the daily recommended limit, or more. About 3,300 restaurants are subject to the rule, which affects all New York City chain restaurants with 15 or more locations nationwide.

“It’s simple - New Yorkers deserve to know what’s in their food and when a menu item contains more than 2,300 mg of sodium,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are all tempted to make unhealthy choices, but thanks to the Health Department and Board of Health, we have the information to make better decisions and lead healthier lives.”

“It’s a fact that high sodium intake can increase blood pressure and risk of heart disease and stroke, and the sodium warning rule allows New Yorkers to make informed decisions about the food they eat,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “I am proud of the Board of Health’s work and commitment to protecting and promoting the health of New Yorkers.”

The average New York City adult consumes nearly 40 percent more sodium than the daily recommended limit. High sodium intake can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke. Over 75 percent of the sodium consumed by Americans comes from packaged and restaurant foods and even similar foods can contain highly variable amounts of sodium, making it difficult for individuals to lower their sodium intake.

Restaurants subject to the rule must also post a warning where customers place their orders:

Warning: cid:image011.png@01D2BF7D.7BBC9760 indicates that the sodium (salt) content of this item is higher than the total daily recommended limit (2,300 mg). High sodium intake can increase blood pressure and risk of heart disease and stroke.

For more information on the sodium warning rule, visit nyc.gov/health or call 311.

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Here is a link to a statement from the American Heart Association, on whose behalf – as well as NALBOHs– the Public Health Law Center, in collaboration with ChangeLab Solutions, filed two amicus briefs in 2016 supporting New York City’s Board of Health during this year-and-a-half long legal battle: http://newsroom.heart.org/news/new-york-city-sodium-lawsuit-ends-a-victory-for-sodium-reduction-efforts.  

CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Stephanie Buhle (347) 396-4177

pressoffice@health.nyc.gov