Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Restaurant group taking NYC to court over salt symbol

The controversial symbol
New York City, always in the vanguard of nanny state moves to dictate what its citizens can eat and drink, will be the target of a lawsuit to be filed this week by the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

At issue is the city's new requirement for restaurants to place a specific symbol on its menus for any item exceeding 2,300 milligrams of salt, generally the recommended daily intake.

The rule went into effect Tuesday, and violators will face a $200 fine. It is the first such regulation in the nation. To be clear, it does not affect all restaurants. Only those that are part of companies with 15 or more locations. In other words, if you own anywhere from one to 14 establishments, you can continue to do business unimpeded.

Apparently the city's Board of Health, which passed the regulation, must think there is something evil about owning more than 14 locations while anything below that number is benign. Talk about selective targeting and knee-jerk hatred of chains.

Despite the NRA intention, not all chain restaurateurs are against the salt symbol. Some have publicly said they are in favor of giving consumers more information, and that the idea is in line with widespread industry efforts in recent years to reduce salt content. The objection, rather, is to the selective nature of the new regulation.

If the NRA is successful, it will be the second city ban on something food industry related to bite the dust. In September, a State Supreme Court justice overturned a ban on the use of plastic foam containers that went into effect July 1, but was not scheduled to be enforced until next month.

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