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NYC Health Department proposes high-sodium warning on menus

Salt
Peter Dazeley | Getty Images

Two major American cities are seeking to provide more information about the foods consumers eat.

New York City's Health Department wants all chain restaurants to warn customers about products that are high in salt.

The department is proposing at a meeting of the Board of Health on Wednesday that all chain restaurants add a salt-shaker-like symbol on menus next to products that contain more than the recommended daily limit. That's 2,300 milligrams of sodium, about 1 teaspoon of salt.

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If the city Board of Health votes to consider the proposal, a final vote could come as soon as September and the warnings by December.

Public health advocates hailed the proposal as a pioneering step to tackle a major problem. Salt producers called it off-base, and some restaurateurs said it would needlessly mire already burdened eateries in more bureaucracy.

Lawmakers try new tacks to curb soda drinking

Separately, San Francisco lawmakers are taking another stab at curbing consumption of sugary drinks seven months after local voters added the city to the long list that have rejected soda taxes promoted in the name of public health.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a Board of Supervisors committee is expected to take up three pieces of legislation on Monday that represent a new front in the sweetened beverage wars.

One proposed measure would require soda ads posted on buses, billboards and other city surfaces to carry labels warning that drinks with added sugar contribute to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

The other laws under consideration would ban soda ads on public property and prohibit city funds from being used to buy soda.

American Beverage Association spokesman Roger Salazar says the industry group plans to fight the bills.