NY Bill Would Ban the Use of Salt in Restaurant Cooking

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New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) has introduced a bill that would prohibit restaurants in the state from using salt when preparing any dish to be served to customers.

You will be pleased to know that, at least for now, customers will retain the discretion to add salt to their own meal if they wish.

That's a One-Thousand Dollar Fine Assembly Bill A10129, introduced on March 12, would amend the state's General Business Law to preclude any owner or operator of a restaurant from using "salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers . . . ." The law gives the Attorney General the authority to file a special application for injunctive relief to put a stop to seasoning violations.  (Presumably the AG is to start on this as soon as every other crime committed in New York has been solved, but I don't see that language in here.  Probably an oversight.)  If a court determines that the law has been violated, "the court may impose a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars for each violation," and "[e]ach use of salt in violation of this section shall constitute a separate violation."  The bill doesn't define what might constitute a "use of salt," so if somebody goes nuts with a salt shaker this could really add up.

Ortiz told a reporter for the Albany Times-Union that he had not researched the role of salt in food chemistry or flavor, or what the effect of his bill might be on the restaurant industry.  Food experts (including a baker, two food scientists, and a culinary professor) reached for comment described the idea as "preposterous" and "insane," and said it would result in "insipid and anemic" food.  The professor pointed out there would be no ham, no bacon, "no pickles, no relishes, no . . . no just about everything." Ortiz admitted to the reporter that he eats and would likely continue to eat things like ham, cheese, and bread in restaurants, possibly not understanding that he may be contributing to the delinquency of a waiter by doing so because those foods all contain salt.

Link: Albany Times-Union