Philadelphia May Become Second U.S. City to Require Sodium Warnings
At the end of June 2018, the Philadelphia City Council unanimously passed a bill that would require chain restaurants to place a warning label next to menu items that contain 2,300 milligrams (mg) or more of sodium. The warning would apply to printed and electronic menus, menu boards, and food tags, and would feature the following language: “Sodium content higher than daily recommended limit (2,300 mg). High sodium intake can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke.” The Daily Value for sodium is 2,300 mg per day – Daily Values are reference amounts of nutrients to consume or not to exceed each day for adults and children 4 years of age and older, as determined by FDA.
The bill was introduced by Philadelphia Councilmember Blondell Reynolds Brown who believes the warning will help consumers make healthy food choices. According to Councilmember Reynolds Brown, “[w]e cannot assume that consumers know the nutritional content of food before they eat. This legislative measure is another opportunity to promote smart and healthy food choices. In addition, it is an opportunity to educate our communities about what they are consuming.” And as per the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the National Center for Health Statistics Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke, Philadelphia has extraordinarily high rates of hypertension and the highest rate of premature death from heart disease of the ten largest U.S. cities.
The bill is currently awaiting review by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and will become law if signed. Should the bill be signed into law, Philadelphia will become the second city to require sodium warnings, joining New York City, which passed the nation’s first sodium warning policy in 2015. You can read more about New York City’s sodium warning here.