New York City’s health department will push a plan Wednesday for new warning labels that single out food products high in sodium on chain restaurant menus, the Associated Press reported.
The city’s health officials told the AP Tuesday that they will propose a salt shaker symbol that indicates to consumers which menu items have more than the daily limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium, or roughly a teaspoon of salt. If the plan comes to fruition, New York will be the first U.S. city to require a high-sodium warning on restaurant menus.
For comparison, the American Heart Association now recommends that Americans consume fewer than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day, several hundred milligrams lower than New York’s proposed level. The AHA’s guidelines once set the limit at 2,300 as well, but decided to consider new regulations that lowered the average sodium intake to help with growing health concerns.
Studies have found that high consumption of sodium leads to increased risks of high blood pressure and heart problems. According to the AHA, 75 percent of our sodium intake comes from processed and restaurant foods, which makes it difficult for consumers to make healthier food choices when sodium is already added to food.
Most Americans surpass the daily recommended salt consumption. Average sodium consumption hovers around 3,400 milligrams a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is more than double the AHA’s sodium recommendations.
New York’s health department hopes these warning labels start appearing on menus as soon as December, but the proposal must first pass a board vote, then a public comment phase, before moving to a final vote in September.