On Monday, the New York City Department of Health announced details of a nationwide effort to reduce the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant foods by 20 percent over the next five years. The National Restaurant Association has responded by commending the health department's goal of helping customers live healthier lives, a goal shared by the association. However, the association differs on how the foodservice industry should ultimately achieve that goal.
Sue Hensley, NRA senior vice president for public affairs, communications, released the following statement:
We appreciate that the New York City program is voluntary. However, we believe that a more effective approach should include a national discussion and a comprehensive look at the many components of healthy living. The restaurant industry is highly sensitive to consumer desires and trends, and restaurants offer a wide variety of menu choices to meet individual dietary needs and tastes. To better serve consumers, the industry is committed to providing healthy choices and is working collaboratively with manufacturers, suppliers and health organizations to reduce sodium. The greatest long-term positive impact for healthier dining options lies with a better educated consumer. The association has worked in conjunction with more than 75 health organizations across the country as well as consumer advocacy groups to support a national, uniform standard that would provide a wide range of nutrition information in chain restaurants — including sodium — to consumers. The National Restaurant Association is working with our members on a comprehensive approach to healthy living that is flexible for our diverse membership and positive for consumers.