January 11, 2010
New York City made waves when it was the first municipality to ban use of trans fats in restaurants. Now salt is in its sights. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is planning to unveil a new initiative that seeks to not only cut the level of sodium found in New Yorks menu items, but to also reduce sodium levels by 25% in both packaged and restaurant foods over the next five years.
This initiative encompasses the entire nations food manufacturers since it would likely prove economically prohibitive to reformulate products for just the New York market.
Like the citys previous campaign to stop the use of trans fats in restaurants, this initiative will begin with a phase of voluntary compliance. However, when the voluntary approach didnt work for trans fats, the city passed legislation forcing restaurant owners and operators to comply.
Critics of the plan state that the need for reduced sodium intake is relative to each individual personthat theres no one size fits all recommended level that is required for everyone. Also, this initiative has been called an uncontrolled experiment with the publics health. Reformulating packaged foods and menu items to comply with the stated sodium reductions would also cost millions of dollarsa serious point of contention considering the currently struggling economy and the memory of reformulating to remove trans fats still fresh in the industrys memory.
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