I wouldn’t have believed it unless I had read the actual proposal from the New York legislature’s website:
NO OWNER OR OPERATOR OF A RESTAURANT IN THIS STATE SHALL USE SALT IN ANY FORM IN THE PREPARA- TION OF ANY FOOD FOR CONSUMPTION BY CUSTOMERS OF SUCH RESTAURANT, INCLUDING FOOD PREPARED TO BE CONSUMED ON THE PREMISES OF SUCH RESTAU- RANT OR OFF OF SUCH PREMISES.
Really, someone actually wrote this bill up and went through whatever it takes to have it considered, placed on the agenda, and uploaded to the public legislative website.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Most places use way too much salt, but this is hardly limited to the kitchen – the one place salt actually belongs. The problem is usually that the “raw materials” are already loaded with salt before any cook actually begins cooking.
Of course, if you’ve ever baked, cooked rice, or fried potatoes, you know exactly how indispensable salt is for certain foods. I’ll be the first to complain if the chef uses too much in his recipe or when the chicken breasts from the grocery store come packaged in a salty brine, but to expect any kitchen to actually cook decent food without the ability to use a dash and a pinch here or there? Pure insanity.
I’m all about encouraging and educating people to make healthy dietary decisions, but this micro-management of the kitchen is just out of sync with reality and does nothing to stop people from overindulging on salty snacks and frozen meals outside of the restaurant.
If governments want to get involved in policy that will encourage better eating choices, they should start off by undoing all of the subsidies designed to promote grains and all of the trade barriers designed to protect local farmers from places with better climates and environments for certain crops. Yes, I’m looking at you, American sugar cane and corn farmers!