NYC is the first city in the nation to require chain restaurants to post warning labels next to menu items that contain high levels of sodium. The proposal was passed unanimously on September 9, 2015 by the NYC Board of Health, and requires restaurants with 15 or more locations nationwide to post the warning labels.
A recent court decision allows Health Department to enforce the rule. Read Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett's statement (PDF). New Yorkers will now have the information necessary to make informed decisions about their diets and their health.
For questions about the sodium warning label icon, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Chain Restaurants
We invite you to let us know of any changes in your menus and will work with you to avoid having violations unnecessarily cited against your stores. You can let the NYC Health Department know that a menu item has been reformulated and no longer requires the warning icon by emailing email@example.com. If satisfied that the item no longer merits an icon, we will instruct our inspectors not to cite menus for not having one next to it. Similarly, you may also contact us if you erroneously receive a violation citing an item which contains less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium.
The Health Department coordinates an unprecedented public-private partnership to help prevent heart disease and strokes by reducing the amount of sodium in packaged and restaurant foods. The National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI), a partnership of more than 100 state and local health authorities and national health organizations, set voluntary targets for salt levels in 62 categories of packaged food and 25 categories of restaurant food to guide food company sodium reductions in 2012 and 2014. In each of these categories, some popular products had already met these targets—a clear indication that they are achievable.
The NSRI includes mechanisms to monitor sodium in the food supply to track nation-wide progress toward specific targets. During the course of the NSRI, between 2009-2014, there were modest reductions of sodium levels in the food supply. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health describes changes in the packaged food supply. Changes in the restaurant food supply are described in this analysis (PDF).
In June 2016, the FDA announced draft voluntary sodium reduction targets, which were in part informed by the design of the NRSI, as well as sodium reduction initiatives underway in other countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom.
The Health Department measured sodium intake of New Yorkers through a 24-hour urinary sodium analysis as part of the Heart Follow-Up Study (HFUS). For more information about HFUS:
The NSRI applauds the companies that committed to pursue NSRI targets, and we encourage all manufacturers, restaurants, supermarkets and other food companies to follow their example.