New York City’s new warning label for salt-laden chain restaurant food is headed for a court fight, after restaurateurs sued Thursday to argue that health regulators overstepped legal bounds to enact the first-of-its-kind requirement.
The National Restaurant Association’s suit came just two days after the rule took effect, compelling chain eateries to put a salt-shaker icon on menu items that top the recommended daily limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium.
“Ironically, this regulation will confuse and mislead consumers into potentially making less healthy food choices through the law’s spotty, inconsistent application and inaccurate scientific distortions,” the suit says.
The association says the health board overstepped its legal bounds and is muddying waters at a time when federal regulators are working on nationwide menu labeling rules. The suit also brands the salt warning “nonsensical” in applying to only some food vendors and argues it violates restaurateurs’ free speech rights by forcing them to post a warning they dispute as a “scientifically controversial opinion.”
The city Law Department said it would review the claims but was “confident that the Board of Health has the authority to enact this rule.”