NYC high-salt penalties upheld

salt spill

A judge has rebuffed an attempt by the National Restaurant Association to stop New York City from enforcing a requirement that chain restaurants flag menu items containing more than 2,300 milligrams of salt.

Starting March 1, city officials can fine applicable restaurants $200 if they fail to comply with the regulations, which went into effect in December. The mandate applies to local units of chains with at least 15 branches nationwide.

The NRA had sued the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to block the law, arguing among other points that there is still disagreement within the medical community about what is an unhealthy level of sodium in food.

But Judge Eileen Rakower rejected today’s motions to halt enforcement, noting that the regulation does not prohibit restaurants from including salt. Rather, she noted, they merely have to indicate which items contain at least 2,300 milligrams of salt, a level widely regarded as the recommended daily limit for adults. Consumers can decide whether or not to go ahead and order those dishes.

Knowledge, she commented, is power.

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