Good or bad? Salt warnings on menus - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Good or bad? Salt warnings on menus


New York City begins a new era in nutritional warnings on Tuesday. Chain restaurants are now starting to put a symbol on menus beside food items that contain high amounts of salt.

The new symbol is a black triangle with a salt-shaker emblem. It is placed beside menu items such as sandwiches, salads and appetizers that contain about a teaspoon of salt.

The recommended daily limit of sodium is 2,300 milligrams which is about 1 teaspoon-worth.

Dozens of people and restaurant owners in Cape Girardeau who tell us what they think about this new idea.

"Personally, I'm a little salt sensitive," Cup'n Cork Co-Owner Patrick Abbott said. "I don't use a lot of salt. I don't even know where the salt shaker is in my own home. I cook with it, but I don't add salt to a lot of things."

Abbott said he believes it is a good idea that consumers know how much salt they are putting in their body.

"I think folks are going to have an eye opener, especially in New York City," Abbott said. "But I think if that catches on, you're going to see it filter down to restaurants that are not nationwide chains. Whether health departments should require it, I don't know."

Abbott said he thinks a person can't have too much health information as long as one knows what to do with the information.

"If you see a large amount of salt on an item on a menu, you have to take that into account if you're a person who is suffering from heart disease," Abbott said.

People we talked to around town, and other restaurant owners, mostly agree with Abbott on the more information offered, the better.

One person we talked to who was visiting Cup'n Cork said many people will just go with what they want to eat and not consider nutritional values and how it might affect their diets.

Abbott said he prepares a lot of his foods basically from scratch. He said he knows what ingredients are in the foods because they make and mix the ingredients themselves.

"We control, like for instance on our chicken, our roast beef, we roast those in house. We make some some of our dressings in house," Abbott said. "I can control that sodium. And we use very little salt in our cooking."

However, Abbott said it will be hard to come up with an exact amount of sodium in his dishes considering many food items are not already prepared.

"For me, to do the math on that is going to be a tough one," Abbott said. "I don't use a lot of prepared foods. What I do use, I'll have to do the math on what sodium is in that and if any sodium that I'm adding."

The new menu warning is the latest in a series of novel nutritional moves by the nation's biggest city, and comes as health advocates, federal regulators and some in the food industry are trying to get Americans to cut down on salt.

Experts say most Americans consume too much salt, raising their risks of high blood pressure and heart problems. But the plan faces opposition and a potential court challenge from restaurant groups and salt producers, who say the city is going overboard.

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Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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