Label it a salt war: NYC Sued Over Salt Warnings

Published: December 4, 2015

Label it a salt war: NYC Sued Over Salt Warnings, The association calls the city’s new rule ‘an arbitrary and capricious mandate.’

The National Restaurant Association and New York City are at odds again. After the NYC Board of Health passed a new rule requiring major restaurant chains to label foods that are particularly high in sodium, the NRA on Thursday followed through with its threat to sue the city before the New York Supreme Court.

“In this latest example of renegade regulating, the Board of Health overstepped its authority with an arbitrary and capricious mandate,” NRA attorney Angelo Amador said in a statement provided to Eater. “The lawsuit we filed in New York State Court, contends that the New York City Board of Health lacks the authority to enact such a mandate, noting that under New York State law, the power to pass new legislation is reserved for the City Council. Once again, the Board has acted without any legislative guidance and improperly sidestepped the people’s representatives on the City Council. The Board’s actions, as with the beverage ban before it, are arbitrary in their scope, reach, and application.”

The NRA represents more than 380,000 businesses. It argues New York City shouldn’t apply a nutritional information rule to chain restaurants, only, and the powers that be shouldn’t force restaurants to make costly upgrades to their operations.

“As an Association, we advocated for a national menu-labeling standard on behalf of restaurants across the country to provide consumers with access to uniform nutritional information,” Joan McGlockton, vice president for food policy for the NRA said in a statement. “The Board of Health is using exclusions and loopholes to undo that uniformity on a local level and has acted outside of its scope. The restaurant industry continues its commitment to developing and offering lower-sodium options for consumers.”

The Board of Health doesn’t appear to be worried about the rule being overturned. A spokesperson for the city’s law department tells Eater, “We are confident that the Board of Health has the authority to enact this rule. We will review the specific claims once we are served with the lawsuit.”

The NRA previously took New York City to court over the large-soda ban dreamed up by former mayor Michael Bloomberg. That rule, which outlawed sodas served in containers larger than 16 ounces, was struck down. In October, the NRA filed a petition to fight the state of New York’s planned $15-per-hour minimum wage. The association claimed that move was a “thinly veiled attempt by Governor Cuomo” to avoid the hassle of getting things approved by the state legislature and finding a different way to enact his own policies.


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