NY salt ban

Pinch Me


On March 5, New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) introduced a bill that "prohibits the use of salt by restaurants in the preparation of food by restaurants" and imposes a fine of up to $1,000 per infraction on sodium scofflaws. 

A few days after the bill was introduced, Ortiz claimed on Fox News that his proposal "will allow the chef and the consumer to have a conversation about what we can add or not add." Ortiz is wrong about his own bill. Consumers already have the right to ask about salt content—and chefs have the right to tell diners to get lost. This bill doesn't open up conversations. It closes them down, by prohibiting chefs from using salt in their kitchens, period.

Under the Ortiz proposal, salt can still be added at the table. But as any serious cook will tell you, sprinkling on a little NaCl at the end of the process isn't the same as using it during food preparation. The law is too severe even for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, famous for his crackdowns on smoking and trans fats. "You have to have salt when you cook," he told the New York Post. "It makes a lot of foods, the way you cook them and bake them—salt is a real ingredient. So I don't think that's the right thing to do."