Written by Sophie Okolo
New York City is now requiring chain restaurants to warn their customers about menus that contain more than the total daily recommended limit of sodium, according to Maria LaMagna, a reporter for MarketWatch. Starting Dec. 1, this warning involves diners posting a symbol – a salt shaker inside a black triangle – next to such menu items. The city is the first metropolitan to start this new labeling which targets restaurants with 15 or more locations all over the country. As a result of this expansive initiative, there may be a great effect on population health and quality of life nationwide.
From food preservation to food seasoning, salt is an essential nutrient in society. It is present in many processed foods as well as used in cooking and at the table. Despite these important facts, salt poses a great risk when it comes to human health. For instance, a high level of sodium in a person’s diet can cause hypertension and may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes in at risk populations. It is recommended that “adults should consume less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium, equivalent to five grams of salt per day,” according to the World Health Organization. This is a far cry from the amount of sodium in sandwiches at popular fast food chains.
As restaurants embark on this new policy, New York City is pulling all the stops. Starting March 1, 2016, restaurants will start to be penalized if they do not comply. Additionally, Jim O’Hara, the director of health promotion policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, states that “he is hopeful the labeling will lead to a reduced-sodium diet for those purchasing food in New York.” While the new policy may be difficult at first for some diners, and even consumers, the end goal is to improve health by enabling people to be careful about their salt intake.
Do you think the new policy will have an effect on salt intake?