Appeals court grants interim stay on enforcement of salt warning rule in NYC

A judge in the Appellate Division, First Department, has given an interim stay on the enforcement of a new rule in New York that requires chain restaurants to post warnings on menu items high in sodium. The rule, which had to become active tomorrow, would have caused penalty of $200.

On Monday, Justice David Friedman of the Appellate Division of Supreme Court approved the request of the National Restaurant Association to stop the enforcement of the new law until it is under judicial review.

The restaurant association has said that it is pleased with the decision, which will provide great relief to small business owners who operate New York’s restaurants. It is expected that the court will offer its opinion on the issue on March 18.

Last Wednesday, Justice Eileen Rakower of state Supreme Court in Manhattan had refused a challenge to the rule by the association, allowing the enforcement of the regulation. The rule is one of a kind in the United States that requires city restaurants with 15 or more locations nationwide to put a salt shaker in a black triangle to symbolize a warning next to menu items that has more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, which is the daily limit of sodium recommended by the federal government.

The restaurant association finds the rule to be ‘arbitrary and capricious’ and ‘full of irrational exclusions and nonsensical loopholes’. The association has even said that only the City Council can come up with such a regulation.

“We are confident, despite the stay of enforcement for now, that the court will uphold the sodium warning rule”, said the Department of Health. In fact, it will warn then if the chains are not complying with the new rule. Later this month, a full panel will decide whether to keep the fines at bay until it rules on an appeal.

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