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National Restaurant Association - New York City Sodium Labeling Mandate

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New York City Sodium Labeling Mandate

Case: National Restaurant Association v. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene et al.

Status: Pending, appellate division, New York Supreme Court

Issue: We are contesting a New York City Board of Health mandate that requires chain restaurants with 15 or more locations nationally to post an ominous-looking salt-shaker icon on their menus next to food items, or combinations of items, that contain at least 2,300 milligrams of sodium.

  • We argue that the labeling mandate is arbitrary, capricious and filled with irrational exclusions and loopholes. We believe the mandate undoes the very uniformity we worked for in advocating for a national federal menu-labeling standard that requires chain restaurants to provide sodium information, among other nutrition data, to guests in writing upon request.
  • We successfully got 90+ days of an emergency injunction to prevent enforcement from starting as planned on March 1, 2016, but the City’s Health Department began enforcing the mandate June 6.
  • We filed our first court petition and brief challenging the mandate in February 2016, and Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Eileen Rakower immediately held that the mandate was legal.
  • We moved to the appeal process, filing our opening brief with the appellate division of the New York Supreme Court in August 2016 and our reply brief in October 2016. We presented oral arguments on Nov. 30. A court decision is likely in early 2017.

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