Sodium Initiative

Sodium & Health

Diets high in salt intake increase blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, and stroke. Learn more about the link between sodium and health from these Frequently Asked Questions (PDF). Visit the Choose Less Sodium page for tips on reducing your own salt intake.

Read the letter (PDF) urging federal action on sodium to the United States Food and Drug Administration from 33 state and local health departments and organizations.

Sodium Warning Labels for Chain Restaurants

The sodium warning label passed! Expect to see more warning labels at larger chain restaurants. The State Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the sodium label warning is a win for the health of every New York City resident. New Yorkers will now have the information necessary to make informed and better decisions about their diets and their health.

The proposal to implement the sodium warning label had been met with some resistance. Health Commissioner Bassett submitted an affidavit (PDF) in support of the Sodium Warning Rule, in response to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA’s) effort to halt the implementation. Read the press release.

New York 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 New York City Board of Health, and requires restaurants with 15 or more locations nationwide to post the warning labels starting December 1, 2015. Chain restaurants including Applebee’s, Subway, TGI Friday’s, and the Regal Entertainment Group movie theaters have already begun to implement the sodium warning rule, well before fines began on June 6, 2016.


High Sodium Warning Label: Why It Matters (PDF) Other languages: [বাংলা] [中文] [Kreyòl ayisyen] [한국어] [Русский] [Español]

Sodium Warning Label: Presentation to the Board of Health (PDF)

Health Code Rule about Sodium Warning Labels(PDF)

For questions about the sodium warning label icon, contact

For Chain Restaurants

Read our compliance guide: New Sodium (Salt) Warning Rule: What Food Service Establishments Need to Know (PDF).
Other languages: [Español] [
中文] [العربية] [ Русский] [Kreyòl ayisyen] [λληνες] [বাংলা] [한국어] [اردو]

Download sodium warning icon: JPEG or TIF

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 If satisfied that the item no longer merits an icon, we will instruct our inspectors 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 2300 milligrams of sodium.

National Salt Reduction Initiative

Restaurant Food | Packaged Food

The NYC Health Department is coordinating an unprecedented public-private partnership to help prevent heart disease and strokes by reducing the amount of salt in restaurant foods. The National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI), a partnership of more than 95 state and local health authorities and national health organizations, sets voluntary targets for salt levels in 62 categories of packaged food and 25 categories of restaurant food to guide food company salt reductions in 2012 and 2014. Some popular products already meet these targets - a clear indication that they are achievable.

When a company signs onto the initiative, it pledges that its overall sales in a given food category - canned soup, for example - will meet the relevant target for salt content, even if some individual products don't. Unlike past salt reduction efforts in the United States, the NSRI includes mechanisms to monitor sodium in the food supply to track companies' progress toward specific targets. The NYC 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:

Learn more about the NSRI's Goals and Summary (PDF) or check out some Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).

Company Commitments to NSRI Targets

The NSRI applauds the companies that have agreed to pursue NSRI targets, and we encourage all manufacturers, restaurants, supermarkets and other food companies to follow their example.

  • Au Bon Pain
  • Bertucci's Italian Restaurant
  • Black Bear European Style Deli
  • Boar's Head Provisions Co.
  • Butterball
  • Campbell Soup Company
  • Delhaize America
  • Dietz & Watson
  • FreshDirect
  • Furmano's
  • Goya Foods
  • Hain Celestial
  • Heinz
  • Ken's Foods
  • Kraft Foods
  • LiDestri Foods / Francesco Rinaldi
  • Mars Food US
  • McCain Foods
  • Premio
  • Red Gold, Inc.
  • Snyder's-Lance, Inc.
  • Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Subway®
  • Target Corporation
  • Unilever
  • Uno Chicago Grill
  • White Rose

View the full list of commitments and achievements (PDF) by NSRI committed companies. If you would like to learn more about how to participate in the NSRI, please email

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