New York City May Require High Salt Warnings in Franchised/Chain Restaurants

NY Business Law, NY Legal News

A New York appeals court ruling has cleared the way for New York City to begin enforcement of its rules requiring restaurants to warn of high-salt content.

Recently, the First Department of the New York Appellate Court held that New York City can require chain restaurants to post warnings on items high in salt content. In doing so, the Court also lifted a stay on enforcement of the rule that was granted after the National Restaurant Association appealed a trial court ruling.

The National Restaurant Association challenged the requirement, claiming that it was an unlawful and unprecedented burden on restaurant owners, resulting in confusion for customers.  It also claimed that the rule was arbitrary and capricious.

New York City is the first to require restaurants with 15 or more locations nationwide to post a warning next to menu items with more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium.  Violators are subject to fines.

In February of 2016, a Manhattan Supreme Court Judge held that New York City was within its rights to adopt this rule because “information is power” and that there was a rational basis between the rule and its purpose – lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

With its recent decision, the Appellate Court has paved the way for New York City to enforce high salt warnings and fine chain restaurants who fail to do so.

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