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NYC mandates salt warnings on chain-restaurant menus

salt shaker

The New York City branches of restaurant chains with more than 15 units nationwide will be required to flag salt-rich menu items under a rule unanimously approved today by the Board of Health.

Items containing more than 2,300 milligrams will have to be identified with an adjacent salt-shaker icon on the menu or menu board. The rule, the first of its type in the nation, takes effect Dec. 1. 

Places that fail to comply will apparently be fined.

Officials estimate that about 10 percent of applicable restaurants’ menu items will warrant the warning.

The measure, which had been proposed in July and was expected widely to be adopted, left more than restaurants upset. Some advocates had hoped the warning would be required for menu selections with as little as 500 milligrams of sodium.

The 2,300-milligram threshold was chosen because that amount is the recommended limit on salt intake for an adult.

The restaurant industry as a whole had tried to derail the requirement, arguing that changing menus would be an undue financial burden at a difficult time for the business.

But at least one member, Panera Bread Co., had expressed support for the plan, noting the health benefits.

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