Insane Bill Would Ban Salt in Restaurants, Impose $1,000 Fines

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Photo: iStockPhoto; Creative Commons

Anyone who said Mayor Bloomberg’s voluntary sodium reduction initiatives were a slippery slope should feel pretty vindicated (and terrified) by this: New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has introduced a bill that would outright ban the use of any salt in the preparation of restaurant food. “In this way,” Ortiz babbles maniacally to Nation’s Restaurant News, “consumers have more control over the amount of sodium they intake, and are given the option to exercise healthier diets and healthier lifestyles.”

Right — and maybe chefs shouldn’t even bother cooking and we should just have microwaves at every table, along with electronic ordering systems. Check out the text of the bill below; it proposes a minimum $1,000 fine for “each use of salt,” though it’s not clear what exactly a “use” is — $1,000 for each pinch of salt that goes onto your otherwise perfectly healthy pork belly? Stossel, go!

10129
I N A S S E M B L Y

March 5, 2010

Introduced by M. of A. ORTIZ, MARKEY -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. PERRY -- read once and referred to the Committee on Health

AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to prohibiting the use of salt in the preparation of food by restaurants

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 399-bbb to read as follows:

S 399-BBB. PROHIBITION ON SALT; RESTAURANTS. 1. 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.

2. WHENEVER THERE SHALL BE A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION AN APPLICATION MAY BE MADE BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK TO A COURT OR JUSTICE HAVING JURISDICTION BY A SPECIAL PROCEEDING TO ISSUE AN INJUNCTION, AND UPON NOTICE TO THE DEFENDANT OF NOT LESS THAN FIVE DAYS, TO ENJOIN AND RESTRAIN THE CONTINUANCE OF SUCH VIOLATIONS; AND IF IT SHALL APPEAR TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE COURT OR JUSTICE THAT THE DEFENDANT HAS, IN FACT, VIOLATED THIS SECTION, AN INJUNCTION MAY BE ISSUED BY THE COURT OR JUSTICE, ENJOINING AND RESTRAINING ANY FURTHER VIOLATIONS, WITHOUT REQUIRING PROOF THAT ANY PERSON HAS, IN FACT, BEEN INJURED OR DAMAGED THEREBY. IN ANY SUCH PROCEEDING, THE COURT MAY MAKE ALLOWANCES TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH SIX OF SUBDIVISION (A) OF SECTION EIGHTY-THREE HUNDRED THREE OF THE CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES, AND DIRECT RESTITUTION. WHENEVER THE COURT SHALL DETERMINE THAT A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION HAS OCCURRED, THE COURT MAY IMPOSE A CIVIL PENALTY OF NOT MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR EACH VIOLATION. EACH USE OF SALT IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION SHALL CONSTITUTE A SEPARATE VIOLATION. IN CONNECTION WITH ANY SUCH PROPOSED APPLICATION, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO TAKE PROOF AND MAKE A DETERMINATION OF THE RELEVANT FACTS AND TO ISSUE SUBPOENAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES.

S 2. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.

EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted.

N.Y. lawmaker seeks to ban salt in restaurants [NRN]
A10129 Summary [New York State Assembly]