New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) has reportedly introduced legislation (A.B. A10129) that would bar restaurants from using salt “in any form” during food preparation. According to the bill, which cites the World Health Organization, “three quarters or more of the sodium intake in the United States comes from processed or restaurant foods.” Proposing to fine restaurants $1,000 for each violation, the law aims to “give customers the option to add salt after the meal has been prepared for them,” allowing them “more control over the amount of sodium they intake, and… the option to exercise healthier diets and healthier lifestyles.”

Meanwhile, the legislation has drawn swift criticism from consumers, nutritionists, restaurateurs, and chefs, the latter of whom have noted the important chemical role of salt in baked goods and other dishes. “Chefs would be handcuffed in their food preparation, and many are already in open rebellion over this legislation,” said one spokesperson for My Food My Choices, a coalition opposed to government action on the issue. “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.” See The New York Times, March 10, 2010; My Fox New York and Times Union Tablehopping Blog, March 11, 2010.