Philadelphia Wants To Put Warning Labels On Foods With High Sodium

The Lempert Report
March 05, 2018

And I agree.

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced legislation  that would require chain restaurants to put warning labels on menus for items or combination meals containing more than the daily recommended intake from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration which currently is set at 2,300 mg daily. The average American male in their 30’s, for example, consumes almost twice that amount. Under the legislation, chain restaurants would have to place a label — visible in plain sight — next to foods on both printed and electronic menus that says Sodium content (is) higher than daily recommended limit. High sodium intake can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

The Councilwoman cited statistics showing dangerously high rates of hypertension and heart disease in Philadelphia, particularly among African Americans. According to the FDA, consuming too much salt can lead to heart disease, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease. While 2,300 mg is the recommended daily intake for most, it's 1,500 mg for at-risk populations, such as those already suffering from hypertension, African Americans, and middle-aged and older adults. 

New York City passed similar legislation two years ago. Sonia Angell, New York's deputy health commissioner, said  "The majority of salt in our diet doesn't come from the salt shaker — it's already in the food when we purchase it," according to NPR. "And that makes restaurants a really important place to give people guidance about how they might be making decisions — if they choose to do so — that might protect their health and their heart." 

Alyssa Moran, a registered dietitian and doctoral student at the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a survey that discovered adults ate about 1,300 mg of sodium in a single fast-food sitting. But when the subjects were asked to estimate how much sodium they consumed, the average guess was just 200 mg, They were off by about 650%. She also found that “25% of the people we approached had absolutely no idea about the amount of sodium in their meal and couldn’t even provide an estimate.”