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New York Councilwoman Wants Carb and Sugar Warnings at Restaurants

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The proposed law would apply to all restaurants, including mom-and-pops.

The pastry case at Lafayette
Daniel Krieger

First salt warnings, and now, carb ones: A New York councilwoman is proposing legislation this week that would require restaurants to warn diners about "excessive" sugar and carbohydrate intake, Politico New York reports. Brooklyn councilwoman Inez Barron, a Democrat, wants the city's health department to create a poster with information about how sugar and carb intake impacts people who are diabetic and pre-diabetic. Unlike the sodium menu labels, all restaurants — including mom-and-pops — would be required to display the warning poster.

The legislation comes on the toes of the health department's new sodium rule, which requires chain restaurants to put salt labels next to menu items with more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium. The National Restaurant Association has sued the city over that rule, and most recently, a court decided that there will be a hold on fines for not complying. Unsurprisingly, the association has spoken out against Inez's legislation, too. A spokesperson for the industry tells Politico:

This is just another attempt to showcase misleading information that attempts to scare people about products that are perfectly safe in moderation and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle. A poster on a wall is no way to improve public health.

Still, Politico says the legal grounding for Inez's proposed legislation will "stand on firmer legal ground" than the salt labeling rule if it becomes law. "There would be no question over whether the agency had statutory authority," the publication writes. More than 700,000 New Yorkers have diabetes, and nearly a third do not know they have it, according to the health department. "We have an obligation to inform people," Barron says.

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