NYC’s Salt Warning Labels Set To Debut At Chain Restaurants This Week

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Menus at New York City’s chain eateries will be getting a makeover this week, as the city’s rule requiring warning labels for particularly salty menu items goes into effect.

The rule is the first of its kind, and will mean that chain restaurants have to include a salt-shaker emblem on any offering that contains more than the recommended daily limit of 2,300 milligrams — around a teaspoon — of sodium. Here’s the warning label:


This is the latest move in NYC’s nutritional mission, in an effort to get residents to cut down on salt. Health experts say most people consume too much sodium — on average, about 3,400 mg per day — which could lead to high blood pressure and heart problems.

Many folks might not realize how much salt they’re eating, health advocates say: for example, Applebee’s Chicken Fajitas Rollup clocks in at 3,600 mg of sodium; Chili’s Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad has 3,470 mg and Olive Garden’s Tour of Italy entrée packs in 3,830 mg of salt per serving.

“With the high sodium warning label, New Yorkers will have easily accessible information that can affect their health,” city Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in September, when the Board of Health approved the new warning.

Some restaurateurs are against the salt labels, saying that new federal menu labeling guidelines will be taking effect in 2016, which could require them to revamp their menus twice.

“This is just the latest in a long litany of superfluous hoops that restaurants here in New York must jump through. Every one of these cumbersome new laws makes it tougher and tougher for restaurants to find success,” Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, said when the salt initiative passed in September.

Though restaurants are supposed to comply as of Tuesday, NYC won’t begin collecting fines until March 1.

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