An appeals court on Thursday lifted a temporary restraining order that had prevented New York City from enforcing a rule that is intended to discourage servings of sodium-laden meals at restaurants.
Under the rule, large restaurant chains must post on menus a salt shaker icon next to menu items containing more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, the recommended daily limit for sodium intake.
“New Yorkers deserve to know a whole day’s worth of sodium could be in one menu item, and too much sodium could lead to detrimental health problems, like high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement in response to the ruling. “I am pleased with the Appellate Division’s decision allowing enforcement of a common sense regulation that will help New Yorkers make better decisions and lead healthier lives."
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) challenged the rule, contending the New York City Board of Health didn’t have authority to impose the requirement. The association also argued the regulation was “arbitrary and capricious" and “filled with irrational exclusions and nonsensical loopholes."
In February, a Manhattan judge upheld the rule. NRA appealed, and a judge with the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court granted a request for a temporary restraining order, which prohibited enforcement of the rule pending a decision on a request for a preliminary injunction.
Michael Jacobson, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), lauded Thursday’s ruling denying NRA’s request for the injunction and called for the restaurant group to drop its case.
“The NRA shouldn’t wait for strike three, but should drop its meritless lawsuit and start working with their New York City members to provide their customers with the health information they deserveand then get to work actually lowering sodium," he said in a statement.
The NRA said it is continuing to appeal the case. Christin Fernandez, a spokesperson for the association, said in a Newsday article that the ruling “will force the men and women that own New York City’s restaurants to start complying with this unlawful and unprecedented sodium mandate before the court has the chance to rule on the merits of our appeal."
In 2014, NRA and other groups were successful in challenging a ban in New York City on large sugary drinks.