Assemblyman Ortiz Pushing to Reduce Salt Intake

January 26, 2010

Albany – Today, Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (Brooklyn-51 AD) announced that he is introducing legislation that would prohibit restaurants and food establishments from using salt when preparing food for consumers. New York City Mayor Bloomberg is advocating for a similar initiative that reduces the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant foods by 25 percent over the next five years. Ortiz believes that, by putting the control of the sodium intake amount into the customer’s hands, it would give them an option to exercise a healthier diet and healthier lifestyle.

A report issued by the World Health Organization indicated that three quarters or more of the sodium intake in the U.S. comes from processed or restaurant foods. Another study by the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that lowering the amount of salt people eat, even by a small amount, could reduce cases of heart disease, stroke and heart attacks as much as reductions in smoking, obesity and cholesterol levels. Scientists in that study claim that everyone would benefit from less salt, but people at higher risk for heart problems, i.e. people with hypertension or people over 65, would benefit the most. The study also stated that: “If everyone consumed half a teaspoon less salt per day, there would be between 54,000 and 99,000 fewer heart attacks each year and between 44,000 and 92,000 fewer deaths.”

Ortiz is the author of several pieces of legislation (A.5520-A, A.6620, A.8711, A.9145, and A.9176) that are aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle and fighting obesity in New York State. Recognizing the harmful effect that high sodium intake has on our public’s health; he strongly believes that restaurants should cease the use of salt while cooking. “These numbers speak for themselves – it is imperative that we respond NOW – for the sake of the health and future of our citizens”, said Ortiz.