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New York State Proposes Restaurant Salt Ban

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MYFOXNY.COM - Some New York City chefs and restaurant owners are taking aim at a bill introduced in the New York Legislature that, if passed, would ban the use of salt in restaurant cooking.

"No owner or operator of a restaurant in this state shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers of such restaurant, including food prepared to be consumed on the premises of such restaurant or off of such premises," the bill, A. 10129 , states in part.

The legislation, which Assemblyman Felix Ortiz , D-Brooklyn, introduced on March 5, would fine restaurants $1,000 for each violation.

"The consumer needs to make their own health choices. Just as doctors and the occasional visit to a hospital can't truly control how a person chooses to maintain their health, neither can chefs nor the occasional visit to a restaurant," said Jeff Nathan, the executive chef and co-owner of Abigael's on Broadway. "Modifying trans fats and sodium intake needs to be home based for optimal health. Regulating restaurants will not solve this health issue."

Nathan is part of the group My Food My Choice , which calls itself a coalition of chefs, restaurant owners, and consumers, called the proposed law "absurd" in a press release issued on its Facebook page.

Ortiz has said the salt ban would allow restaurant patrons to decide how salty they want their meals to be.

"In this way, consumers have more control over the amount of sodium they intake, and are given the option to exercise healthier diets and healthier lifestyles," Ortiz said, according to a Nation's Restaurant News report.

But many chefs and restaurant owners said they are tired of politicians dictating what they can serve and what people can eat. They have opposed the city's anti-sodium and anti-transfat campaigns.

"Chefs would be handcuffed in their food preparation, and many are already in open rebellion over this legislation," said Orit Sklar, of My Food My Choice. "Ortiz and fellow anti-salt zealot Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City seek to undermine the food and restaurant business in the entire state."

The American Heart Association encourages Americans to reduce their sodium intake and has advocated the reduction of sodium used by food manufacturers and restaurants by 50 percent over a 10-year period.

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The logic here is impeccable. A draconian ban somehow gives the consumer more choice. And how much taxpayer money will be wasted on a Salt Inspection Committee, arresting chefs for the heinous crime of making food delicious? Somehow I think the state legislature should have other priorities, like their huge budget gap and fleeing state population.

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The solution is easy. All of the food serving businesses in the state band together and go on strike. Then see how long it takes for the people of the state to tell the legislators to back off. I bet it wouldn't take very long at all.

Actually, I'd also like to see the car makers and their dealerships in California do a similar thing. The state legislature mandates that cars can’t be sold in California unless they meet some ridiculous emissions requirements or this thing about having to make the interiors of cars cooler so drives won’t use their air conditioners so much. The car makers and dealers say “Fine, we won’t sell cars in California anymore.” How long would that last?

There has to be a limit to the laws that can be made by a legislative body just because they think they can make them.

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Been reading Atlas Shrugged, usonia? ;)

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I don't like regulations like this, but given the obesity 'epidemic,' something needs to be done to help curb over-eating, and the health risks of too much fat, and sodium. Increased hypertension is a worrying trend in the population; even those of us who are healthy are consuming too much salt.

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WOW . . .

Sometimes here in California, wacky stuff gets proposed too. Mostly so the wacko can get some attention.

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I don't like regulations like this, but given the obesity 'epidemic,' something needs to be done to help curb over-eating, and the health risks of too much fat, and sodium. Increased hypertension is a worrying trend in the population; even those of us who are healthy are consuming too much salt.

Salt does not equal overeating. It's isn't so much what you eat as how much of it you eat.

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bread will no longer be cooked onsite...? i could agree with fries like this, but that's easy.

this law is insane though.

Edited by loki
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Been reading Atlas Shrugged, usonia? ;)

Well, not recently, but it did stike a certain chord with me when I did read it.

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Salt does not equal overeating. It's isn't so much what you eat as how much of it you eat.

Actually, plenty of evidence shows that foods that contain a lot of salt, as well as fat and sugar trigger a response in the brain to eat more than necessary.

Yes, self control is important, but this is North America.

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I honestly can't understand how this would even work.

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How about a road salt ban? Road salt is bad for cars.

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How about a road salt ban? Road salt is bad for cars.

Now that's a proposal I can agree with!

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Why can't the state leave it up to consumers to request their meal be made with no/low salt if they're concerned? I don't have a blood pressure problem, and I've had a lot of food without salt--it's horrendous. And adding it at the table is no substitute for cooking with in the first place.

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Actually, plenty of evidence shows that foods that contain a lot of salt, as well as fat and sugar trigger a response in the brain to eat more than necessary.

Yes, self control is important, but this is North America.

While true, it is not the salt which is added part cooking, but the salt which is used as preservative that is more detrimental to a person's health.

Reduce canned food and most of the salt will be better taken care of. There is no place for this absurd law, which may only prevent 11% of person's salt intake. Linkity

As an example - canned kidney beans have 1,400 mg of salt in one 3.5 cup can, if you cook kidney beans of the same amount, they only contain 70mg of salt + salt which you may add for flavor, which will be another 300mg.

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Why can't the state leave it up to consumers to request their meal be made with no/low salt if they're concerned? I don't have a blood pressure problem, and I've had a lot of food without salt--it's horrendous. And adding it at the table is no substitute for cooking with in the first place.

Because politicians love to tell people how to live their lives.

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The solution is easy. All of the food serving businesses in the state band together and go on strike. Then see how long it takes for the people of the state to tell the legislators to back off. I bet it wouldn't take very long at all.

Actually, I'd also like to see the car makers and their dealerships in California do a similar thing. The state legislature mandates that cars can’t be sold in California unless they meet some ridiculous emissions requirements or this thing about having to make the interiors of cars cooler so drives won’t use their air conditioners so much. The car makers and dealers say “Fine, we won’t sell cars in California anymore.” How long would that last?

There has to be a limit to the laws that can be made by a legislative body just because they think they can make them.

Wrong. If you want to grossly oversimplify everything, then of course it sounds ridiculous. Unfortunately, the world is complicated, and there are some incredibly compelling reasons for managing auto emissions, especially in California. Do some research--look at air quality data, fine-particulate literature, asthma literature, and then start to look at land use patterns, especially in Southern California. Schools, low-income housing, and even many middle-class homes are located right next to freeways because that's where these facilities can feasibly be built. The emission standards aren't ridiculous, and really many other states with dense urban populations are adopting these exact same standards. Maybe you're in a low-density area, rural, or in a small city--that's fine, but you don't live with the reality of poor air quality from vehicular emissions.

As far as the cooler interiors, well guess what, more fuel gets burned the more air conditioning you use. If cars were more energy-efficient, and subject to less heat gain, less air conditioning would be required, and fuel and emissions savings would be realized. Barring some major game-changing technological breakthroughs, this is going after incremental, low-hanging fruit from a regulatory standpoint. There is no debate on this in California--emissions must be reduced and greater fuel efficiencies achieved. Even if it saves just 1mpg per car, multiply that by the entire fleet of vehicles. The savings add up, quickly.

As for the salt issue--uh, salt is basic seasoning. Salt is also required for baking. This is asinine and will not go anywhere.

Edited by Croc
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The logic here is impeccable. A draconian ban somehow gives the consumer more choice. And how much taxpayer money will be wasted on a Salt Inspection Committee, arresting chefs for the heinous crime of making food delicious? Somehow I think the state legislature should have other priorities, like their huge budget gap and fleeing state population.

Your point of view has a quality that makes it unusable in political debate: it's logical and asks why the real problems aren't addressed. Politicians do the exact opposite of that :P

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As far as the cooler interiors, well guess what, more fuel gets burned the more air conditioning you use. If cars were more energy-efficient, and subject to less heat gain, less air conditioning would be required, and fuel and emissions savings would be realized. Barring some major game-changing technological breakthroughs, this is going after incremental, low-hanging fruit from a regulatory standpoint. There is no debate on this in California--emissions must be reduced and greater fuel efficiencies achieved. Even if it saves just 1mpg per car, multiply that by the entire fleet of vehicles. The savings add up, quickly.

You're missing the point here--it is not up the state to micromanage like this, which destroys happiness and leads to a lumbering state bureaucracy. If too much fuel is really being used, then just increase duties on it and let people make their own choices on how to economize. The reason people buy their evil black interiors now is simply because they don't feel the full cost of that decision. If you tax fuel then some people will still find it worth it because they like black leather, and other people will demand a lighter color, as is their preference. When the thought police come in and manage individual components of individual products like this, you're on the path to collapse. Oh wait, California already is.

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You're missing the point here--it is not up the state to micromanage like this, which destroys happiness and leads to a lumbering state bureaucracy. If too much fuel is really being used, then just increase duties on it and let people make their own choices on how to economize. The reason people buy their evil black interiors now is simply because they don't feel the full cost of that decision. If you tax fuel then some people will still find it worth it because they like black leather, and other people will demand a lighter color, as is their preference. When the thought police come in and manage individual components of individual products like this, you're on the path to collapse. Oh wait, California already is.

Wait.... did you just suggest a punitive tax?

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Wait.... did you just suggest a punitive tax?

Reconciling an externality with a simple tax like this is the most economically efficient course of action. Reams of regulations dictating lightbulbs and TV energy usage is heinous. Also, the gas tax in this country is too low as it is (I don't think it's been increased since the early 90s). In the absence of road pricing, gas taxes are the best way to finance road construction, not through dipping into general revenue funds.

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Having lost 100 lbs recently and in large part to cutting my sodium intake I can vouch for the absolute value in cutting your salt intake.

However

that was my choice. i educated myself on how to do it. I chose my food intake appropriately. Needless to say, restaurants that offer high sodium items were not getting my business.

the bulk of the market wants some salt in their food for taste and to some degree it is still required for preservation. But distribution and use of food is on a much quicker cycle these days. For example the beans example....i buy canned beans with reduced or zero sodium for my chili now. Also, I rinse the beans. Canned vegetables don't need the amount of salt that they have. But seriously you shouldn't be eating canned veggies, go frozen to be healthier.

the chefs needs to be able to flavor the food as they see fit to make the recipes the way they need to to appeal to customers. the taste and amount of sodium should be elements of the product choices best left to the consumer to decide for themselves. Personally I wish there was less salt in restaurant food, but you can't legislate that. Educate the public the value on reducing salt and let them start to make the choice themselves. I did it and it wasn't that hard.

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Reconciling an externality with a simple tax like this is the most economically efficient course of action. Reams of regulations dictating lightbulbs and TV energy usage is heinous. Also, the gas tax in this country is too low as it is (I don't think it's been increased since the early 90s). In the absence of road pricing, gas taxes are the best way to finance road construction, not through dipping into general revenue funds.

Did you really just suggest a hike in the gas tax? Seriously?

Good luck running for office.

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As far as the cooler interiors, well guess what, more fuel gets burned the more air conditioning you use. If cars were more energy-efficient, and subject to less heat gain, less air conditioning would be required, and fuel and emissions savings would be realized. Barring some major game-changing technological breakthroughs, this is going after incremental, low-hanging fruit from a regulatory standpoint. There is no debate on this in California--emissions must be reduced and greater fuel efficiencies achieved. Even if it saves just 1mpg per car, multiply that by the entire fleet of vehicles. The savings add up, quickly.

Let me touch base on this one for a moment; lighter colored interiors still draw and gather heat. The only way I could think of to fight against interior heat gain without relying on lighter colored fabrics and materials, which are still quite inefficient, and air conditioning would be to use electrochromic smart glass that can be tinted to suit various heat and sunlight situations. That wouldn't be cheap and still wouldn't fight against 100 percent of interior heat gain, IMO. I'm also not even sure it would be 50 state legal because the glass could tint itself too dark for local standards.

Also, rolling the windows down to increase interior cooling hurts gas mileage just as bad as turning the a/c on because you are disrupting the airflow of the vehicle.

And even with electrochromic glass being put into all new cars, say, after a certain date post-2012, I'd say you'd still see someone rolling or cracking their windows in the summertime or turning the a/c on. Making this standard would be for naught.

As for the salt issue--uh, salt is basic seasoning. Salt is also required for baking. This is asinine and will not go anywhere.

Agreed.

Edited by whiteknight
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