New York bill would ban restaurant use of salt in cooking

Assembly members Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), Margaret Markey (D-Queens) and Nick Perry (D-Brooklyn) have filed a bill that would hit restaurants with $1,000 fines if their chefs use salt as an ingredient in their recipes. Some reactions: Russell Jackson, Metafilter via Althouse, Verdon/Outside the Beltway (“Is salt necessary for some cooking? Yes.”) via Bainbridge, Mangu-Ward (“$1,000 a pinch? $1,000 a grain?”) and more, Alkon, Gothamist. Four years ago we reported on a breathalyzers-for-everyone proposal from Ortiz.


  • Oh for heaven’s sake. These people know nothing about cooking. I have no qualms at all declaring them idiots.

  • I am sorry his dad died. But this does not mean everyone who adds salt to food is at risk. While once you have hypertension cutting down salt intake MIGHT help (but not necessarily, depends on other factors) salt has been to potentially CAUSE it only in a small percentage of persons with a genetic predisposition, which persons are themselves descended from a small subset of humans. Think hempophilia…

    I have suggeted that every parent/guardian who lives more than about forty miles from an ocean (does Albany count? Buffalo does) write this man “for the children.” Look at the ;abel on salt packages of salt at the market” see the word “iodised” there? Yes, a form of iodine is added to salt as a thyroid-problem preventative – by Federal mandate.

  • Sorry about typos.

  • Perhaps it is time to breathalyze, drug-test, physical- and mental fitness test, and blood test all candidates for office–starting with Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. Paterson, and these three morons (maroons?) proposing this nonsense.

  • Arguments about salt being needed for cooking miss the point: it’s not about whether salt is chemically useful or necessary in a dish, it’s about whether people have the right to decide for themselves.

    When we say that “salt is needed for cooking” the implication is that if it weren’t, well then the ban would be ok … but it wouldn’t, and we should not imply as much.

  • That is why I support mandatory heavy labor work battalions for politicians. My health care proposal would force them to slim down and get into shape by breaking big rocks into little rocks. After all, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. I also will feed them a salt free diet. Lets see how long they last.

  • Interesting. Salt is a necessary part of preparing Kosher meat. Is this the first step in outlawing Judaism?

  • […] reports that this ingenious triumvirate has drafted a proposed law that would make it illegal for restaurant chefs to use salt in their recipes: Assembly members Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), Margaret Markey (D-Queens) and Nick Perry (D-Brooklyn) have filed a bill that would hit restaurants with $1,000 fines if their chefs use salt as an ingredient in their recipes. […]

  • This is a great idea if your purpose is to destroy the NY City restaurant business. A fitting punishment for this fool would be for him to be flogged and then have salt poured in his wounds.

  • I believe the bill says, “salt in any form.” That would essentially ban all food. Morons!

    The lunatics are running the asylum.

  • Does this mean no crackers will be served with soup?

    Sugar seems to be next on the list of banned products starting with a NYS sugar tax on soft drinks.

    If the intent is to force New Yorkers to consume healthier products, doesn’t alcohol cause more deaths than salt? I don’t hear any calls for going back to the days of prohibition.

  • Next thing you know they’ll be outlawing bacon for breakfast.

  • New York restaurateurs should make it policy to serve only unsalted, unseasoned, fat free, food at all political functions, fund raisers, or meals attended by political figures, both elected and unelected (like the press, union bosses, and mobsters), until these idiots are removed from office. When possible, these establishments should set up a ‘back room’ speakeasy with locked doors and secret passwords for select individual members of the political class to continue eating seasoned food, at vastly higher prices, just to make sure they get the point.

  • Luckily this is only proposed legislation by three moronic individuals who don’t seem to understand the lack of benefits and severe consequences of their proposed bill. Nonetheless, much time and money will be wasted by the New York City restaurant Association and others affected to quash this bill before it sees the light of day.

    As it said before in comments to this blog site on this topic, those who have been advised to reduce their salt intake by their physicians know who they are, and presumably they will follow their doctor’s instructions. It is only a very small segment of the population that has hypertension that responds to reduced sodium intake or certain types of impaired renal function, that needs to reduce (or eliminate) salt in their diets.

    New York City should consider banning all food in restaurants except for salads made with lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, and tomatoes. This will be the new generation of healthful eating in New York City, and Mayor Bloomberg could then claim that we are pioneers in the area of legislating sound nutritional values.

  • Tomatoes! The fruit of the deadly nightshade!


  • Note how broadly the bill is written. It doesn’t distinguish between traditional salt, as in sodium chloride and its cousin, potassium chloride. And the bill says “any form.” Thus, (certain) salt water fish probably contain – wait for it – salt, and would thus be prohibited, correct?

  • Shouldn’t there be an equivalent of disbarment for politicians? If an incompetent lawyer gives legal advice that contradicts the law, he can be disbarred. If a physician is incompetent he can lose his license. If an accountant bungles the bookkeeping he can be kicked out of the profession and may even face charges. But politicians, whose profession is to make laws, can propose and enact legislation that flies in the face of reason, science, and common sense, and they face no disciplinary action at all, except voter rejection at the next election. Really, there should be professional standards that politicians are held to, and can be disciplined against, like in every other profession today.

  • The good news is that since ‘fast food’ restaurants receive many of their ingredients (burger patties, sauces) pre-prepared, they do not have to add salt.

    That bacon double cheeseburger with a days worth of sodium will not be affected.

  • […] March 2010 · Leave a Comment From the good folks at Overlawyered: Assembly members Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), Margaret Markey (D-Queens) and Nick Perry (D-Brooklyn) […]