Will salt warnings in food work? Experts debate

Will NYC sodium label requirements actually do anything?
Will NYC sodium label requirements actually do anything?

Chain restaurants across New York City began placing salt-content warnings signs on menu items with over 2,300 milligrams of sodium on Tuesday, as part of a new regulation passed last September.

The regulation has sparked a vigorous debate, with those against it saying it's not only an intrusion of government, but it also doesn't work. Those in favor, however, argue that the public has a right to know how much salt, or how many calories, are in their food.

"The policymakers who want more warning labels, calorie counts on menus, all have good intentions. The question is: 'Is science driving the policy?' " Jeff Stier, head of risk analysis division at the National Center for Public Policy, told CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Source: NYC Health

Stier cited a 2009 article from The New York Times, which reported that placing calorie counts on menus does not curb the consumption of high-calorie foods, according to a study.

"What we're learning from the science is that this is not a good way," Stier said.

John Banzhaf, a law professor at the George Washington University Law School, disagreed with Stier. "He cites one study," he said. "When they required the labeling in trans fat, trans fat almost disappeared."

"We almost didn't have to ban it."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in July it would be banning trans fat from all food products.