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September 13, 2019

Philly requiring chain restaurants to warn customers of foods with high sodium

Violators will be issued $250 fines

Healthy Eating Sodium
French Fries High Sodium Christopher Flowers/

Chain restaurants in Philadelphia must now notify customers of foods that exceed the recommended daily maximum of sodium.

Chain restaurants in Philadelphia must warn customers when foods have sodium levels that exceed the recommended daily maximum.

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.

Consuming excessive amounts of salt is linked to high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.

RELATED STORY: Most Philly stores primarily sell unhealthy foods, city report finds

The largest source of sodium in Americans' diets come from packaged and restaurant foods, Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley said in a statement released Friday.

"These warning labels will help Philadelphians take charge of their diet and make the right choices for their health," Farley said. 

Some businesses will be given a six-month extension to comply with the new law. Some have already complied. 

Health inspectors will check for compliance during their regular safety inspections, issuing fines of up to $250.

The city also is launching a $50,000 advertising campaign urging people to watch their sodium levels and look for the label at chain restaurants. 

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