According to the new rules, which were recently unveiled by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, restaurant chains that have over 15 restaurants statewide are required to place a dark triangle with a light-colored salt shaker at its center near the food items that have more than a teaspoon (or 2,300 mg) worth of salt.
The resolution to post high-salt warnings was first adopted in September but was first enacted Dec 1. Yet, the agency proposed the new rules in June, while a public hearing on the topic was held in August.
Health Commissioner Mary Bassett told reporters Monday that too much salt often leads to early death. A warning sign is necessary to let consumers know that a specific meal or food item contains more salt than the daily recommended amount of 2,300 mg.
Doctors have long known that a high-salt diet can promote cardiovascular disease, inflammation, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions. Restaurants that fail to comply with the new rules would face a $200 fine. New York City officials, however, said that fines would be imposed starting March 2016.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene noted that heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of deaths for New Yorkers. About 17,000 NYC residents die of the two conditions every year. Additionally, high blood pressure, which is promoted by a high sodium intake, is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, health officials noted.
According to official dietary guidelines a healthy adult should not consume more than 2,300 mg of salt per day. But health experts caution that even that amount may be too much. Stricter recommendations place the daily limit to 1,500 mg per day, especially for people 50 years old or older, blacks and patients diagnosed with a chronic condition including diabetes and impaired kidney function.
Five years ago, the American Heart Association adopted a 1,500 mg recommended limit after embracing the 2,300 mg of salt recommendation for nearly a decade.
Nevertheless, Americans rarely go by these recommendations and they eat a lot more salt than what is considered to be healthy. According to recent CDC report, an average American consumes 3,400 mg of salt every day. Still, New Yorkers consume slightly less salt – about 3,239 mg of salt on a daily basis – a health department report shows.
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