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Barbara Rolek

Should Salt Be Banned in Restaurant Food Preparation?

By March 10, 2010

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Paul Frumkin reports in Nation's Restaurant News that New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has introduced a bill that would ban the use of salt in the preparation of restaurant food across the state.

Ortiz says the ban would give more control to restaurant customers by allowing them to add salt to their own meals after they have been prepared and, thus, "exercise healthier diets and healthier lifestyles."

Ortiz goes on to say, "Studies have also proven that lowering the amount of salt people eat, even by small amounts, could reduce cases of heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks as much as reductions in smoking, obesity, and cholesterol levels."

Being part of a voluntary initiative like New York's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene National Salt Reduction Initiative -- which seeks to cut the levels of sodium in restaurant and packaged foods by 20 percent over the next five years -- is one thing, but being forced to eliminate salt entirely from food preparation under penalty of law, is another thing entirely.

How do you feel? Should consumers be responsible for seasoning their own food or does restaurant regulation smack of Big Brotherism? Besides, what will this do to the delis (already a dying breed) that rely on pickling salt? Please take this poll and let me know how you feel.

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Comments

March 10, 2010 at 9:30 am
(1) Charlie says:

My preferred poll option would have been “Felix Ortiz is an idiot.”

March 10, 2010 at 10:47 am
(2) Sukhmandir Kaur says:

Some food hs to be cooked with salt or it will never have the proper flavor no matter how much you add afterwards. this is just dumb. He should leave cooking to the cooks. How bout we just ban government in food prep & restaurants Yeah!

March 10, 2010 at 10:52 am
(3) easteuropeanfood says:

I couldn’t agree with Charlie and Sukhi more. Food that is seasoned after preparation requires MORE than if done in moderation WHILE cooking.

March 10, 2010 at 11:01 am
(4) Marcia Purse says:

I’m with all three above. What a ridiculous idea!

March 10, 2010 at 11:04 am
(5) PotterBeth says:

I’m agreeing, as well. My goodness…cooks and especially chefs don’t want to loose the flavor of their food by over-salting! But not salting at all is quite often reprehensible!!

What next, no salt on the tables??

March 10, 2010 at 11:51 am
(6) Kevin - C42 says:

What a bloody idiot!

March 10, 2010 at 11:54 am
(7) Patrick Thornberry says:

I’d have thought that chefs add salt amongst other flavours to achieve the best overall taste for a specific dish and so should be allowed to get on with it.

The issue, surely is where mass-produced foods use salt and other ingredients to mask the cheapening of the product – to fool our brains into thinking that the food they are eating is good.

March 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm
(8) Linda Larsen says:

Restaurants add WAY too much salt to the food. I was in a restaurant kitchen once for a Pillsbury food demonstration and was appalled at the amount of salt poured into food. Have you seen the sodium counts for restaurant meals? 2000 mg of sodium per serving is not unusual, and some go up to 5000 mg PER SERVING. That’s just plain ridiculous. And unhealthy. The daily limit is 2300 mg of sodium. Per day.

March 10, 2010 at 1:54 pm
(9) Bowen Tucker says:

For some people, especially those of us who run for regular exercise, salt (or sodium), is essential. A lack of adequate sodium can kill marathoners.

March 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm
(10) Maggie Landis says:

I think they should have to leave it out. I am on a restricted sodium diet, and have to be very careful where I eat out. I can’t even order a salad at most restaurnts, because they use a product like “Snow White” on the lettuce to keep it from turning brown and most of those products have a lot of sodium in them. I almost always am swelled up within a few hours after eating out, so I just don’t.

March 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm
(11) Becky says:

We have way too many laws on the books now – Mr. Government: Stay Out of My Restaurants & Kitchen!

We all need a certain amount of salt. It certainly is not the worst thing out there for us. And what will they substitute? More soy products so that none of us thyroid people can eat it?

March 10, 2010 at 2:17 pm
(12) Brer Rivers says:

The market takes care of this already. Food that is too salty drives away customers who don’t like it. Food that tastes good brings in customers. Ortiz is an idiot and just one more reason why I won’t spend an money in NYC of NY state.

March 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm
(13) dhauf says:

So, making chefs under penalty of law responsible, if God forbid, they should exercise their expertise in food preparation with the addition of salt, will result in fines to the restaurant? Which will be paid for by the consumer, who already pays too much at a restaurant to begin with, which will slow business which will lower the salt intake by the consumer for an evening who will eat a bag of pretzels the next day which will do what?

March 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm
(14) Tom says:

I heartilly agree with #2. Have you ever tasted hospital food especially cooked oatmeal without salt? It is impossible to swallow it. the same with all prepared food where a dietician has had hi8s/her hands in the kitchen.

March 10, 2010 at 2:31 pm
(15) Jerry Camp says:

This is what government control gets you. Well, this and taxation schemes, see like-minded articles on how soft drinks are being targetted.

March 10, 2010 at 2:36 pm
(16) IT says:

I would love to be able to salt my own food in restaurants. You actually need LESS salt if you season after cooking, especially if you use salt with larger granules. People have long lost the ability to control their sodium intake, the taste buds get used to salt and you need more and more of it. This is the reason people don’t even realize when they eat 5000 mg in one meal… they are used to the ‘good’ salty taste. I did not realize how much salt is in our products until recently when some my friends from Europe visited – they were apalled at the taste of our mayo and butter (TOO MUCH SALT, how do you eat this???)
You’d be surprised at the world of flavors that opens up once you decrease the amount of sodium in your food! :-)

March 10, 2010 at 2:45 pm
(17) michael says:

Is Felix over weight and having a problem with his own self control?

At this point in human development we pretty much know what is good for our bodies and what is not. Assume there is a pinch of salt in the food and be done with this.

March 10, 2010 at 2:51 pm
(18) MarieMonroe says:

OMG!!!!! 1- A agree lets have the “Felix Oritiz ia an iodiot” option 2- You’re on a special diet- stay out of restaurants- they didn’t cause it! 3- If the food is “too salty” for your taste – talk to a manager – you have a mouth to eat – then use it to speak up and convey the message 4- Another example of the gov’t sticking it’s nose where it doesn’t belong 5- Keep your nose out of my food

March 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm
(19) annie says:

cutting down on the salt OK
cutting salt out NO
cut the salt/ cut the flavor.
I was on a no salt diet for a while, it’s horrible.Nothing taste right.
Annie

March 10, 2010 at 2:59 pm
(20) Joann says:

If the salt that the chefs/cooks use to prepare foods is such an issue with #’s 8, 10 & 16, or anyone who would agree with them, my suggestion is that they start preparing their own meals at home. That way, they and only they, can be held responsible for their salt intake.

March 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm
(21) sunshine says:

If your doctor has recommened a low sodium diet, either eat at home or order food that will not be cooked with salt – fresh salads and fresh fish.
For those who enjoy a salt laden meal – go for it!

March 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm
(22) Raymond Dorais says:

I agree entirely with Mr. Ortiz. It is very hard to reduce your salt intake from bought groceries. It is impossible if you eat in a restaurant. The amount if salt used by restaurants in the preparation of food is 10 times too high. Actually, if they cut by 50% nobody would hardly notice the difference. Let people decide if they prefer to die of a heart attack or go easy on salt.

March 10, 2010 at 4:03 pm
(23) Elizabeth says:

Whenever there is salt added it should be clearly noted on the menu. This may sound petty, but the truth is that there are VERY FEW cooked items that REQUIRE salt. Futher there are people who react badly to salt and that is a serious problem. I enjoy salt and would certainly not want it removed from the table. On the other hand, it could cause others to literally have a stroke. Thankfully, most of the people in danger know and are careful. We rarely eat out because of the salt problem. I have learned to cook without salt. Most people do not have the slightest idea how much sodium they consume.

March 10, 2010 at 4:05 pm
(24) MyFoodMyChoice says:

Sign the petition today to protect your right to make your own food choices.

March 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm
(25) Rebecca says:

Salt today, Food tomorrow. Pretty soon the dang government will tell us EXACTLY what to eat, when to eat, where to eat, and pretty soon they’ll tell us “older citizens” that we are too old and useless to live anymore and we aren’t supposed to eat AT ALL.

The Government is OUT OF CONTROL…. We need to take our country back !!!

March 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm
(26) Jerry Camp says:

Post# 20 has the issue framed perfectly. It’s an issue of choice… how ironic! If you have issues with your local eateries, take responsibility and prepare your own meals. Or, find another local eatery. If all else fails, get an online source…there’s every cuisine imaginable available to meet just about any dietary need.

This is very much like other perverse laws that force private business owners to comply to the whim of the nanny state; like Illinois’ jail time and fines for pharmacies that refuse to stock items that the owner sees as contrary to his / her moral or religious beliefs.

March 10, 2010 at 4:15 pm
(27) Helen says:

Moderation not banning. Ortiz may have good intentions (doubt it) but come on already, this is totally smacking of “Big Brother”. Stop legislating what I eat! If I don’t want salt on my French Fries, I WILL REQUEST that no salt be put on my French Fries – duh!

March 10, 2010 at 5:02 pm
(28) Tom Edgar says:

I never use salt in my cooking as a consequence I can’t stand eating packaged food and if eating out specify”No Salt”. Occasionally I sprinkle a little.

If you abstain then eventually you will realise that the taste of the subtle flavors can be sensed. Most food already contains sodium naturally. Celery is saturated with it.

Similarly with sugar. I stopped using sugar with tea and coffee fifty years ago, the beverages taste so much better
without the additive. Tea weaker and without milk really is a nectar not a hot tea milk shake.

Both sugar and salt deaden the delicate taste buds.
Use food without them, eventually, you’ll be so glad you. did

March 10, 2010 at 5:10 pm
(29) concerned for a family member says:

Although I don’t like the idea of a restaurant being forced to omit salt, and I personally like salted food, I am in favor of them offering salt free dishes to people with health problems. My brother in law has congestive heart failure and can have absolutely NO salt. It can be tough for people that have very restricted diets to eat out. Another friend of mine is allergic to soy and basically just cannot eat out. I’d like to see more restaurants offer salt free dishes and soy and gluten free dishes. I am not supposed to have gluten. More and more things are available all of the time, but it’s really great to go to a place where you can order something off the menu and not have to feel like a pain in the neck. Many people are sensitive to gluten and do not even know it. People that want the normal fare shouldn’t have to suffer and do without things they love because someone else can’t have it, but I do like the idea of restaurants all around being more sensitive to special diets and being willing and able to accommodate that with little or no hassle.

March 10, 2010 at 5:15 pm
(30) Suzie says:

If restaurants and frozen food and canned food companies switch to sea salt (which has 90 mg less sodium per teaspoon compared to regular salt and is way more salty to taste–thus requiring less to season a dish), we’d all be ahead of the game. Well-seasoned food with less sodium!!! There should always be full disclosure on menus and food labels.

March 10, 2010 at 6:58 pm
(31) Lotus_108 says:

I don’t think it should be banned, but I do think restaurants should be made to disclose the approximate sodium content of their foods. Then consumers who care can make up their own minds.

March 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm
(32) Mary says:

Unless Mr.Ortiz is going to pick up the tab for my meal…BACK OFF!!!!Those who want no salt can request it when ordering.Most resturants are pretty accomodating.

March 10, 2010 at 7:15 pm
(33) Northild White says:

Lately I noticed that most restaurant food is getting saltier and saltier. All foods need some salt but older folks often have high blood pressure and too much salt can drive the pressure to stroke danger. I personally have reacted badly to overly salted foods and would prefer to add if necessary,since it is impossible to take it out. Often I will ask the server to ask the cook to leave off and I do the seasoning myself and a good restaurant will be pleased to help you.

March 10, 2010 at 7:36 pm
(34) Mary K says:

I say cut the salt in all foods. Let each person be responsible for his own health.

March 10, 2010 at 7:46 pm
(35) m1a1 says:

Ortiz is a fool and buffoon just totus and his regime that are trying to take over our entire live. Ortiz should try to govern not interfere in our lives!

March 10, 2010 at 8:17 pm
(36) Salty Sailor says:

Who needs a new law for this?

Simply declare the use of salt a terrorist plot and you can apply the “Patriot” act, and give hOMELAND “sECURITY” some real work to do.

Send all those terrorist chefs to gitmo and waterboard them!

March 10, 2010 at 8:50 pm
(37) Patty Smith says:

When I turned 18 years of age and for sure by 21, I thought I was able to make my own decisions. To the Government, stop trying to run my life! If I make a bad decision I will be the one to pay for it. Luckily, I do have health insurance for now. Please, work on the economy, help the job market improve, allow free interprise to work and the rest will follow. Defend my borders, lower my taxes and get out of the way! The American public is not nearly as stupid as the government seems to think we are!

March 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm
(38) Susanna K. Hutcheson says:

I would be in favor of it except that, as someone else pointed out, one must add more salt than would otherwise be in the food to give it a good taste. There is no doubt that too much salt is added to most foods and it is a health issue. But I simply don’t believe in the government, whether city, state or federal, should dictate what we eat or do. People can choose to eat in a restaurant or cook their own meals. So I’m not in favor of the restaurants being told what to put in the food. Salt has long been a staple of all kitchens.

March 10, 2010 at 8:56 pm
(39) gail bingenheimer says:

I just came home after spending a year teaching in South Korea. They salt nothing!

March 10, 2010 at 8:57 pm
(40) Dorie says:

Too much salt is BAD. But you can’t take salt away from the table. Lest while cooking.

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

March 10, 2010 at 9:02 pm
(41) john polifronio says:

Well, it seems that everyone is concerned about this health problem. Concerned, that is, about ignoring it. But, there’s a simple remedy for it. Require restaurants to state plainly, that their cooking methods place no restriction on salt use. Or, that their restaurant, does not allow salt use in those foods where its use is a necessary ingredient for best flavor, or where more salt would be necessary after cooking than if it were used during cooking. Does anyone here object to restaurants being required to reveal that they do not restrict the use of salt in their cooking methods. All of you that are so sensitive about being deprived of salt, should have no objection if people are forewarned about its unrestricted use in most restaurants, or that some restaurants do not use salt in their cooking. Problem solved.

March 10, 2010 at 9:05 pm
(42) Art says:

Wonderful idea except that there are some foods that MUST be salted during the cooking process or they will never have enough salt. Additionally, when a patron senses insufficient salt, he or sh will is likely to add salt from the dispender on the table. Not a great idea.

March 10, 2010 at 9:08 pm
(43) Jody says:

While you are at it Felix….why don’t you try banning alcohol from bars …. Really ????? I am confident that there are more worthwhile issues in your state to be addressed.

March 10, 2010 at 9:23 pm
(44) Diamlake says:

The incidence of high blood pressure and other health problems indicate one person’s level of salt is good for them but deadly for some other person. This is not limited to salt but might include sugars, MSG and Aspartame.

March 10, 2010 at 9:42 pm
(45) Sheila says:

What’s next? No more burgers because they contain too much fat? No more desserts because they contain too much sugar.

March 10, 2010 at 9:56 pm
(46) Rob says:

While I do NOT want the government in my choice of foods, there are some restaurants (like Red Lobster) that I will not go to because they add TOO much salt.

March 10, 2010 at 10:02 pm
(47) pcc says:

Lets ban Ortez from our life. People we need to ban these “do gooders” from our American life.

March 10, 2010 at 10:09 pm
(48) heather says:

I don’t think that salt should be band but it should be cut way back. I don’t eat a lot of salt in my diet but when I do go out to restaurants I can smell salt that is coming off of my food and others around me. When I go to McDonald’s for example, I ask them to not salt the fires simply because all I can taste is the salt on the fries and not the fries themselves. I always feel bloated when I eat at any restaurant whether its fast food or not. I do think that restaurants in general need to cut back on the salt because it is used way too much.

March 10, 2010 at 10:28 pm
(49) red dot says:

I loathe controlling dipshi$ts like Felix. The moron obviously can’t control his salt intake so he feels justified in taking it out on the restaurant chefs and those of us that are intelligent enough to be able to walk into a restaurant and convey to the person taking our order how we would like our food prepared.
Judging by some of the previous posts it is obvious that Felix isn’t the only one that doesn’t know how to order food in a restaurant.
Oh well…it’s so pathetic that it’s funny!

March 10, 2010 at 10:45 pm
(50) Pam says:

Baked goods, pastry & bread MUST have a little salt in the preparation…it causes a chemical reaction which is necessary for the finished product. And in addition to the other “nanny state” comments…first they take away salt from the food preparers, next they will take salt shakers off the tables. Because THEY know what’s best for you. Yes, I live in New York!

March 10, 2010 at 11:48 pm
(51) George says:

I think he should stay out of peoples lives in this reagrd and do something useful. Forcing his own views and personal preferences on 12 million people or so must be a great rush for his swollen ego. What else does he not like….butter, meat, kosher food? Is this the stepping stone to banning anything his little Hileresque heart desires??

March 11, 2010 at 12:58 am
(52) Terri says:

I think it’s a good idea. As a law, that’s a little different. As a nurse I never cook with salt. There are plenty of other spices and other ingredients that you can get creative with. And I’m pretty sure you’re not going to die or get hyponatremia from eating a restaurant meal not prepared with salt. For real?

March 11, 2010 at 1:25 am
(53) Nadeem khan says:

Restaurant can use Healthy Salt available @ Lifstyle market has less Sodium in it.

March 11, 2010 at 6:29 am
(54) Rhea Sylvia says:

Here’s my pinch of salt:

I think everybody agree the benefits of a low-sodium diet. But a bill like this proposal will go just too far! It’ll ruin centuries of culinary heritage among other things. Eventually, we’d all be carrying our own saltcellars in our bags, or restaurants would have to providem them for us. This is completely different to the current wave in Europe (or at least Spain, where I live). Here it’s very common that saltcellars are by default on the table, along with a set of olive oil (which is fantastic). The problem with this is that some people (me included) just can’t help themselves to add salt to the meals, even before tasting them in the first place, oversalting them as a consequence. I’ve heard something about removing theses saltcellars from the tables. That would be a good thing. Our taste defenitely can get used to. But food must contain some, I insist.

March 11, 2010 at 7:12 am
(55) abdul rahim says:

as they say ” Anything exceeds the limit is always danger” It is good to use it on the table so that you know well the quantity you take in

March 11, 2010 at 7:48 am
(56) Chamberlain says:

I think what we need is a minimum acceptable level of salt that can be applied to various foods – as approved by the regulating authority(s). Anything in excess should be at the consumer’s discretion.

March 11, 2010 at 8:16 am
(57) Renee D says:

Welcome to the “Nanny State” – if the guy is a Democrat, congratulations, New Yorkers for electing him. This is what you get.

March 11, 2010 at 8:44 am
(58) Lisa & Tony Sierra says:

What could we possibly add to the great comments above about big government, personal choice and elected members of government addressing pressing issues? I suppose we’d just say that our grandparents wouldn’t believe this story if they were alive to tell!

March 11, 2010 at 8:44 am
(59) Cindy L says:

Is there ANY END to the torment we must endure from these IDIOT CONTROL FREAKS in this obama administration & Congress?! These people have crossed the line long ago & are stepping on our liberties. How much longer will we submit to this crap. Can’t WAIT till November ’10 &’12.

March 11, 2010 at 8:53 am
(60) Larry says:

Do americans even know how to COOK anymore? Accept responsibility for your own dietary decisions. Stop trying to blame someone else for the state of your life.

March 11, 2010 at 10:35 am
(61) John says:

What ever happened to waiters/waitresses? Tell them you don’t want any salt added. DUH! AND, STOP trying to control MY LIFE! (I’m 72, love to add salt to some dishes, and tons of pepper to most. I have NEVER had a heart attack or stroke … Give me a break!)

March 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm
(62) Jordan says:

For some culinary creations, adding salt after the fact will not work. You’ll end up adding a bit of salt to each item on your plate.. My food will get cold by the time I have salted the gravy, then the meat, then the veggies, etc.. Besides.. Don’t you think we should begin by focusing on the massive amounts of fast food that people are shoving into their fat American faces. Do you think chicken nuggets will be edible sans salt?? Doubtful. So let’s start with the chain restaurants that are slowly, and knowingly plugging our arteries, and leave the “mom and pop” and independent restaurant owners alone. By the way I am a Chef, and if this became law, you would have to arrest every Chef in the US eventually. This is one of the dumbest things that I have read in a while.

March 11, 2010 at 12:21 pm
(63) Roger says:

As someone with HBP requiring a reduced salt diet, it infuriates me when I do get a chance to eat out, upon getting my favorite food (I usually go to restaurants with buffets), I take a first bite and find it sooooo full of salt I cannot even hope to eat it. In fact, I can’t even taste the food because of the overpowering saltiness! In restaurants where I can request “no salt, no seasoning”, if the food is prepared on a grill, and the grill is not cleaned prior to preparing my food, it still reeks of salt (where it was obviously picked up from the grill and the previously prepared meal).
If someone wants to load their food with salt, let them do it at their table, rather than endandering the health of anyone that is there with salt-sensitive HBP.

March 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm
(64) Roger says:

Oh, by the way, to those that still insist that salt must be used in certain meals or they don’t taste right:
There are may other seasonings that can be added that do not endanger everyone with HBP. Ever heard of Mrs. Dash?

March 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm
(65) Joan says:

Legislating salt out of restaurants is absolutely ridiculous. We all need a certain amount of iodized salt to be healthy.

While I was growing up all the food in our home was cooked without salt. The adults add added salt to taste but we children were not allowed to. As a result, I was a 12 yr old girl with a goiter. I had to drink water with 5 drops of iodine in it 3 times a day for many years because of this. I still don’t care for the taste of salt but I make sure to eat some every day. The taste if iodine water is horrendous!

March 11, 2010 at 1:12 pm
(66) Cara says:

I am so tired of the government trying to control every aspect of our lives. This is just another way to try and control each of us. We should start calling each other “comrade” now, like all of the other communist countries, because that is where we are headed…So sad!

March 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm
(67) aplebeian says:

i think that instead of banning salt from food preparation, they should ban fat people with high blood pressure from eating at restaurants. problem solve.

March 11, 2010 at 1:45 pm
(68) ricrocs2 says:

to lose the salt,you got to think outside the box.

March 11, 2010 at 3:11 pm
(69) BuiltbyRick says:

Nanny State run Amuk!!

March 11, 2010 at 3:30 pm
(70) Fred Darrow says:

I do NOT agree with that level of control, BUT, it would be great is more restaurants would provide more Low Sodium items on the menu.

March 11, 2010 at 6:53 pm
(71) Ken says:

You have to be kidding right? Ridiculous! If folks who need to cut their salt intake are that dumb, maybe they should put a little salt shaker by saltier meals like they put chili peppers by spicy meals on the menu.

March 11, 2010 at 11:54 pm
(72) Karen says:

I think they should leave things alone, if you don’t like the way your food taste at a certain restaurant don’t go back, but don’t let someone else tell us how to eat. Next thing you know we’ll be told when to eat, how much and what time we have to go to bed. Where’s the freedom in that?

March 12, 2010 at 8:11 am
(73) Ula says:

What’s Next??? ICE CREAM!!! that has salt…. let’s not forget people, this is America, we have choices. There are loads of things out there that are bad for your health – but do I need the gov’t to make those choices for me, use your discretion – leave the restaurants to do their jobs – !!!! STAY OUT OF MY FOOD ORTIZ!!!!

March 12, 2010 at 10:46 am
(74) Alyssa says:

how are they going to make important things that define new york culture? the cuisine that is characteristic and exemplary of new york is hinging on salt as an important factor in said food production and preparation. do you think that pastrami is going to taste really good without using salt to cure it?!?!?! eat a sandwich, felix…then tell me if you want to pass the legislature you dumb oaf.

March 12, 2010 at 2:15 pm
(75) SM says:

For a chef, salt is the all important ingredient that brings out all other flavours during the cooking process. Adding salt after prep is less healthy as you have to add more and you still never get the intended flavour of the dish. If anyone is seriously worried about the amount of salt in their restaraunt food – stay home! Don’t make the rest of us suffer.

March 12, 2010 at 4:54 pm
(76) p[;'Leonard Waller says:

Some food needs salt in their preparation. What about seasonings that contain salt? What about pickling?
The politicians have told us how to serve red meat. What beverages to drink. Not to smoke in Bars, Clubs, Restaurants.
MR. Ortiz was one who proposed taxing Poll Dancers in clubs in NYC.
We are all intelligent people. Let us decide for ourselves. I know you can ask any decent restaurant to prepare your order with out salt.
Last does MR. Ortiz want to regulate the salting of preparing Kosher Foods? I was under the impression that the Constitution gave us freedom of religion.
MR. Ortiz, Mayor Blomberg, & Former Mayor Juliane, & Governor Patterson. Should go back to try & running a City & State for the masses, Not their Millionaire, Billionaire, crony club. Or did they figure the proposed fines into balancing the out of control budget, that they maintain & help to create.
Lenny Waller NYC

March 12, 2010 at 10:37 pm
(77) Joe Georgsen says:

Using salt should be a persons choice just like eveything else . Although I believe there should be a standard how much sodium should be used in the meal in it self . The sodium content should not exceed 750 mg per a meal . you should only take in only 2000 mg per a day or less . But it should be up to the person . Or at least the restaurant should have a warning ie: this meal exceeds 750 mg sodium . That way the consumer can make a informed decison . I think some fast food restaurants have the nutritional values posted . People still eat there anyway

March 13, 2010 at 8:41 pm
(78) Aleks says:

This is ridiculous. What real purpose other than giving government a little more control over everyday life. If this is such a pressing issue , have nutritional information like the fast food joints have so people can make informed decisions about what to order or not order .

March 14, 2010 at 6:15 pm
(79) Roger says:

First, for “aplebeian” (#67). Your comment strikes of an absurdly high level of ignorance. One of the most frequent “causes” of HBP is inheritance factors. Sure, some people may have HBP because of excess weight, but a very significant portion of the population that has HBP got it simply by being born into the “wrong” family. I find it grossly insulting that someone would just lump all people with HBP into the “fat” catgory without realizing there are many other factors that can cause a person to develop HBP. Maybe you should have your own blood pressure checked, if you have one!
Second, I applaud those of you who have balked at further government control over our daily lives. Even though I would like to see more restaurants either eliminate or at least reduce added salt in their foods, I certainly don’t believe it should be done by some government edict. It should be done by the restaurant owners and chefs in consideration for the health of their customers. If they cannot supply a salt-free menu, making available salt-free foods for those who require them is nothing if not good humanitarianism.

March 15, 2010 at 11:29 am
(80) patsfan1267 says:

Some of you people are idiots. I agree that they probably shouldn’t put these kinds of restrictions on cooks and their kitchens, but it is true that a lot of cooks, especially at cheaper restaurants, put way too much salt in the food. And they aren’t outlawing salt altogether, they are just keeping cooks from adding too much without their customers knowing about it. Maybe they should just force restaurants to put the sodium contents on all menus. That would hopefully achieve the same ends without compromising food quality.

March 15, 2010 at 8:30 pm
(81) HealthFan says:

The biggest issue is what you are served is not Salt. It is molecularly altered salt that has been heated to about 1200 degrees. You are never told this.

I prefer Celtic Sea Salt. It is more expensive but you know what you are consuming. Much better for your health. You will only find it in health stores and there is a reason.

Pressure is applied to not use regular mined salt because they like to process it and remove some of the nutrients so they can make money selling them.

The Sea Salt in stores is also heated. Your health is being sacrificed in the name of PROFITS.

March 15, 2010 at 9:12 pm
(82) Australian says:

Sure ban or reduce the salt used in restaurants…
it will make restaurant food less attractive…

…will they do the same to the Fast food chains like

McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, etc???

…I wonder how are they going to control the salt that comes embedded on processed food.

March 16, 2010 at 12:17 am
(83) Frank says:

Count my vote for “Felix Ortiz is an idiot”. If there is demand, there will be restaurants w/ low-salt food. Eating at restaurants is not a right – it’s a nice option and not that big a deal otherwise. My wife can’t eat eggs – are we going to force restaurants to offer eggless desserts? Stupid is as stupid does. Ortiz, get a clue.

March 17, 2010 at 8:23 am
(84) Greg says:

Everyone who left a “Big Government” response is a hypocrite. Most of you people want nothing to do with government regulation, but still want the government to step in and save your sorry ass when you screw up. If you actually believed a word of your rhetoric you would abstain from Medicare/Medicaid and all other federally funded programs and support a balanced budget instead of invading countries whose only crime is disagreement with the US. Before you go on spouting that we are the defender of human rights around the globe, ect.. remember that we have REFUSED to sign human rights agreements because they constrain our ability to torture people as we see fit. As for the salt, the entire issue is specious. The customer is always free to order whatever food they want, and if there is too much salt then to send it back or frequent another resturant.

March 17, 2010 at 11:37 am
(85) KL says:

I am ambivalent about this proposed law, but I think salt is so overrated. I cooked and I NEVER put salt in my food. I use spices like ginger, garlic, curry, scallions, onions, etc to give food flavor.

March 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm
(86) JT says:

I think making lower sodium alternatives available to the public is important. However, this new ordinance should not be global. Some restaurants (like the deli’s mentioned in the article) cannot function in a salt free kitchen. These restaurants probably do not do much business with people who are looking for low sodium meals anyway and would thus only be hurt by such restrictions. If a restaurant can make a meal using no salt a person should be able to order it without the salt. I am completely unfamiliar with restaurant kitchens but imagine only higher end restaurants will be able to meet such concessions.

For this last point, I am borrowing extensively for the Salt episode of the Food Network show “Good Eats” hosted by Alton Brown.
Salt is important and if you stay hydrated and do not have a family history of hypertension than there have been no conclusive studies linking high levels of salt to health problems. Alton Brown then continues to go on explaining how the human tongue can taste 5 flavors: sweet, savory, sour, bitter, and salt. While many natural things taste sweet, savory, sour, and bitter – only salt registers as a salt taste. He continues to state that the human body was programed to taste salt and there must be an evolutionary (or designed – not the issue here) purpose for this phenomena.

So while I feel for people who must monitor their salt- there is no real reason for such a huge law to be even considered.

March 17, 2010 at 1:12 pm
(87) Bird says:

that is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard… why is it that politician’s think they know what is good for us and what isn’t. someone needs to tell him to shut up and sit down!! They obviously can’t balance a budget, what makes them think they know what is healthy for us and what isn’t.

September 12, 2010 at 2:52 pm
(88) Lulzy says:

I realize this is an old thread, but its so damn funny I had to say something. All this proposal does is illustrate how people in New York have gotten so urbanized that many of them don’t know the basics of cooking for themselves.

When seasoning/prepping food salt causes osmosis, which results in increased levels of moisture in meat when brining (absolutely essential since the demands of the american consumer have resulted in meat that is too lean to be cooked properly without using tricks like brining).

It also carries the flavor of other seasonings into the food through the same osmotic process. Generally, with most cuts of meat, if you aren’t salting, you aren’t seasoning.

Of course sodium nitrate is an essential part of the curing process in cold smoked meats as well. Thanks to modern advances we use a tiny fraction of the nitrate to cure now, then was used in the past, but it still must be used. If you try to cold somke without it, you will probably die. Translation, if NY were to ban salt in food prep, Jews would not get any Lox. Not gonna happen.

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