New York: Bill Would Make It Illegal For Restaurants To Use Salt "In Any Form In The Preparation Of Any Food"Chefs Call Proposed New York Salt Ban 'Absurd'
By ARUN KRISTIAN DAS / MyFox New York
Mar. 10, 2010
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MYFOXNY.COM - Some New York City chefs and restaurant owners are taking aim at a bill introduced in the New York Legislature that, if passed, would ban the use of salt in restaurant cooking.
"No owner or operator of a restaurant in this state shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers of such restaurant, including food prepared to be consumed on the premises of such restaurant or off of such premises," the bill, A. 10129 , states in part.
The legislation, which Assemblyman Felix Ortiz , D-Brooklyn, introduced on March 5, would fine restaurants $1,000 for each violation.
"The consumer needs to make their own health choices. Just as doctors and the occasional visit to a hospital can't truly control how a person chooses to maintain their health, neither can chefs nor the occasional visit to a restaurant," said Jeff Nathan, the executive chef and co-owner of Abigael's on Broadway. "Modifying trans fats and sodium intake needs to be home based for optimal health. Regulating restaurants will not solve this health issue."
Nathan is part of the group My Food My Choice , which calls itself a coalition of chefs, restaurant owners, and consumers, called the proposed law "absurd" in a press release issued on its Facebook page.
Ortiz has said the salt ban would allow restaurant patrons to decide how salty they want their meals to be.
"In this way, consumers have more control over the amount of sodium they intake, and are given the option to exercise healthier diets and healthier lifestyles," Ortiz said, according to a Nation's Restaurant News report.
But many chefs and restaurant owners said they are tired of politicians dictating what they can serve and what people can eat. They have opposed the city's anti-sodium and anti-transfat campaigns.
"Chefs would be handcuffed in their food preparation, and many are already in open rebellion over this legislation," said Orit Sklar, of My Food My Choice. "Ortiz and fellow anti-salt zealot Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City seek to undermine the food and restaurant business in the entire state."
The American Heart Association encourages Americans to reduce their sodium intake and has advocated the reduction of sodium used by food manufacturers and restaurants by 50 percent over a 10-year period.