In September 2015, the New York City Board of Health unanimously passed a unique measure that would require chain restaurants to warn consumers about the sodium content of certain menu items. In particular, restaurants with 15 or more locations nationwide would be required to show images of saltshakers next to menu items with 2,300 or more milligrams of sodium. Fines under the rule were set to begin on March 1.
But today, just a day before the March 1 effective date, a New York appeals court granted the National Restaurant Association’s request for a temporary stay, meaning enforcement of the rule will be halted. A lower court had upheld the measure and last week denied the NRA’s request for a preliminary injunction, deciding that the requirement was consistent with federal law and that the warning did not harm restaurants’ rights to sell higher sodium foods or consumers’ personal autonomy. The NRA had argued that the law was arbitrary and capricious and could not be properly adopted by the Board of Health.
The rule will be temporarily stayed with the appeals court can consider the NRA’s preliminary injunction request.
Separate from New York City’s unique salt labeling rule, a federal law requiring chain restaurants to post certain nutrition information was passed in 2010. A final rule implementing that law was issued in 2014 year, although the deadline for compliance has been extended until December 2016. Unlike New York City’s rule, the federal law would not require restaurants to post sodium content on menus.