The New York City Health Department hopes to shed some light on the sneaky sources of salt in our diets. Several weeks ago, they proposed a rule that would require chain restaurants to post a warning to patrons when menu items exceed the daily recommended limit of sodium. And we agree...we should be warned when a single meal could give us more salt than any scientific health expert would recommend. Dangerously high levels of sodium have an impact on our brain and heart-health as it's a leading cause of high blood pressure. Often called the silent killer, high blood pressure does not have any outward symptoms but can result in stroke and cardiovascular diseases.
The Board of Health hearing on July 29th discussed the merits of the proposal, countered by the restaurant and hospitality industry's concerns that the proposal would be onerous and burdensome. However, just as the city led the nation almost 9 years ago in the effort to educate consumers about high-caloric foods hidden on our menus, New York once again has the opportunity to shine the spotlight on high-sodium foods. With close to 80% of Americans' sodium intake coming from packaged or restaurant foods, this measure could go a long way toward empowering all of us to make healthier choices when we're dining out.
Thanks to the many supporters of the city proposal for sharing their enthusiastic endorsement of the policy - including many from the You're the Cure network! Your voices were heard loud and clear at the hearing.
The Board of Health is now considering all of the comments shared by the public and will make a final determination on the rule at their next meeting in September. If all goes well, we could see the warning icons being placed on city menus as early as this December!