Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says the labels can help customers make healthier food choices.
“For years, healthcare providers have told patients suffering from hypertension and heart disease to cut back on sodium in their diet, and they have listened and put the salt shakers away,” said Farley. “We now know, however, that the largest source of sodium in American’s diets are in packaged and restaurant foods. These warning labels will help Philadelphians take charge of their diet and make the right choices for their health.”
“Eating one of these items alone puts the consumer over the maximum daily sodium intake recommended by the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans and American Heart Association,” according to Fit Food Philly, a city website with healthy food-related information.
City officials hope the additional information will help people make better choices.
“One chain has a burger, with all the toppings, has 4,100 milligrams. So with this label, for the first time, customers can easily see which items are extremely high in sodium and if they choose to, they can avoid them,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.
The new law, which goes into effect Saturday, requires restaurants to place a red or black “Sodium Warning” label alongside any menu items that exceed 2,300 mg of sodium – including combo meals. The law affects any chain restaurant with more than 15 locations nationwide.
By John Kopp
Health Commissioner Tom Farley says the city’s launching a $50,000 awareness campaign about the warning labels.
“We have tested these ads so that people are aware this is something they should look for when they go to a restaurant,” he said.
By Pat Loeb
According to, 71 percent of people’s daily sodium comes from restaurants or processed food. Experts say high-sodium intake can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and risk of stroke.
By Becca Glasser-Baker