Move Over Big Gulps, Here Come the 'High Sodium' Fines in NYC

$600 because your customers can't figure out that a double bacon cheddar burger is probably pretty high in salt!

New York City's Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio is beaming with big government pride after getting his way in forcing chain restaurants to post "high sodium" icons next to salty items on menus and fining those that don't.

A court battle has ensued between the city and the National Restaurant Association who are currently in appeals court awaiting the final verdict. But a judge lifted a temporary ban on hitting restaurant owners with fines up to $600 for non-compliance.

"[The court's] decision ... will force the men and women that own New York City's restaurants to start complying with this unlawful and unprecedented sodium mandate before the court has the chance to rule on the merits of our appeal," the NRA said in a statement.

For any menu item that contains more salt than doctors recommend, a salt shaker icon must appear next to the item to alert customers. This applies to restaurants with over 15 locations. NYC officials believe patrons need to be aware of the amount of sodium they're ingesting when they sit down to, say, a double bacon cheddar burger -- a food item that no amount of warning labels will deter a diner from if that's the craving. But such is big government…

This is an echo of New York City's former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who tried banning Big Gulp sodas in the city and who is now continuing his fight against sugary drinks in Philadelphia.

The restaurant association wants nutritional warning decisions left to the federal regulators and point out the debate between scientists about what quantities of salt are bad for people. Another element in the organizations argument is that the city's requirement violates the free speech rights of restaurant owners.

Source: Associated Press