Serena and Salt

New York's not just about Serena these days. 

The NYC Board of Health made a particularly bold move yesterday, requiring chain restaurants to post a warning label on menu items that have a high sodium content.  And the symbol isn't your friendly heart (often indicating 'heart-healthy' or a carrot, a frequently used symbol for vegetarian menu items)  - instead, it's a salt shaker within a black triangle.  This 'think twice before you order' icon will be seen on menu items containing at least 2,300mg of salt, one's recommended daily max. 

It's the first of it's kind, going beyond menu labeling which requires the nutrition facts - including the sodium content - be visible.  And it will be required by Dec 1 on all menu items in chain restaurants with at least 15 outlets across the country.

Why do this?  Well, over 75 percent of dietary sodium comes from packaged and restaurant foods.  The chains covered under this new requirement account for about one-third of restaurant traffic in the city.  And perhaps most of all, salt is through the roof!  CSPI keeps a pinterest page full of examples.  It doesn't take long to see that many items contain double or even triple your day's worth of salt.  Applebee's chicken fajita roll-up contains 3,600 mg while Chili's buffalo chicken salad contains 3,470mg, for example.  There are MANY more.  I'd imagine this too will drive restaurants to reformulate, to reconsider some items and offer new ones with less salt.  Nobody wants a black triangle.