Philadelphia, PA - Calling it an important step forward for public health, Mayor Jim Kenney signed legislation today requiring chain restaurants to place warning labels next to each menu item containing 2,300 or more milligrams of sodium – the amount in about a teaspoon of salt – which is the maximum recommended total sodium intake for an entire day.
The measure requires chain restaurants to place clearly visible sodium warning labels next to or directly under the name of each menu item containing 2,300 mg or more of sodium.
“Of the nation’s 10 largest cities, Philadelphia has the highest rate of high blood pressure,” said Mayor Kenney. “Decreasing sodium consumption has the potential to lower high blood pressure rates by 25 percent, preventing hundreds of deaths a year from heart attack and stroke.”
The average American consumes 3,400 mg of sodium per day, well above the recommended upper limit of 2,300 mg. High sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, which increases stroke and heart disease risk. Passed unanimously by City Council, the measure was introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown.
While the sodium labeling law takes effect today, the City won’t start enforcing the new rules until September 14, 2019. The Department of Health will issue no-fine warnings until December 14, 2019, after which date the city will issue tickets that include fines. Those businesses unable to meet the compliance deadline, may apply for a six-month extension.
The new law applies to any chain retail food establishment, including, but not limited to restaurants, convenience stores, delis, bakeries, grocery store food counters and coffee shops.