By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Sodium graphicThe New York City health board did not exceed its authority in adopting a rule to require certain restaurants to post a high-sodium warning label on menus, said a court order released Friday by the New York Supreme Court judge who this week upheld the measure.

Judge Eileen A. Rakower said such information “empowers consumers by making them aware of health risks associated with sodium consumption.” The New York City Board of Health had showed a “reasonable relationship” between its objectives – to educate consumers about the health risks of high sodium intake and to reduce cardiovascular disease – and the tool it chose to do that, she said.

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in New York City, Rakower said.

The judge’s decision Wednesday put the brakes on the National Restaurant Association’s attempt to prevent the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from implementing and enforcing the law, which went into effect Dec. 1.

A spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association said Wednesday the group would explore additional legal options.

Under the law, restaurants with more than 15 locations nationwide have to place a saltshaker icon next to menu items that contain more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, or about 1 teaspoon of salt. It also requires an accompanying statement that says consuming large amounts of sodium can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The judge said in her ruling the warning-label requirement was unlike the city’s attempt to ban large containers of sugary drinks because it does not prohibit the sale of foods with high-sodium content.

Americans consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day — more than twice the amount recommended by the American Heart Association to maintain good heart health.