City politician proposes £600 fines for restaurants that use salt in recipes
Over the past few years New York has gained a reputation for taking the health of its citizens seriously – or nannying them, depending on your point of view.
Now a member of the city's legislative assembly has gone a step further by introducing a bill that would ban the use of salt in restaurant kitchens.
Bill A10129 would forbid the city's chefs from using salt in any of their recipes. The ban's proposer, Felix Ortiz, a Democratic member from Brooklyn, says it would give consumers the choice about whether to add salt to their meal.
Restaurants trying to sneak a bit of sodium chloride on to the plate would be fined $1,000 (£600) every time they were caught.
The idea of an outright ban, except for salt cellars on diners' tables, has led to raised eyebrows across the city, which prides itself on its cuisine. "If state assemblyman Felix Ortiz has his way," quipped the Daily News, "the only salt added to your meal will come from the chef's tears."
Tom Colicchio, who owns the restaurant Craft, told the paper: "If they banned salt, nobody would come here anymore."
Ortiz's bill comes on the back of a high-profile attempt by the city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, to encourage New Yorkers to consume less sodium. The city estimates about 1.5 million residents already suffer from high blood pressure, which can be exacerbated by overconsumption of salt. In America as a whole, the average daily intake of 3,400mg is well above the recommended maximum of 2,300mg.
Bloomberg's campaign aims to cut the amount of salt in pre-packaged and restaurant food by a quarter, in five years. Unlike Bill A10129, however, it is purely voluntary.
New York restaurant kitchens face threat of salt ban | World news | guardian.co.uk