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question to restaurant owners

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
NY passed a law that a picture of a salt shaker must appear on menus next to dishes with excessive amounts of sodium, daily limit. Restaurant association is fighting this, my question is why? It benefits everyone and I always wondered why a tv dinner needs over 2300 mgs of sodium, its frozen already.
post #2 of 10
If a single dish has that much, put a skull and crossbones on it.
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagger View Post
 why a tv dinner needs over 2300 mgs of sodium, its frozen already.

Freezing affects flavor. Tends to mute it. If you read some of my links the last time your brought this  up, you'll also know that cost is a factor. To make food with flavor without much salt means you have to use higher quality ingredients and more exqpensive higher quality seasonings such as herbs and spices. Salt is cheap, and coupled with fat and sugar triggers the craving points in human taste. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 10
I'm for the label because I believe transparency and informed choice are a good thing. And I'm happy to see folks enjoy flavors other than salt. Smoked beets. Charred squash. Roasted cauliflower. All nutritious delicious preparations. Herbs and spices and especially heat go a long way towards balancing the robust flavor dominance and reducing the need for more salt. The point made above about salt being cheap is valid. Other flavor alternates means increased cost for ingredients and culinary skill.
post #5 of 10

I only know what every bartender around the world knows: 

 

Salt is a thirst and appetite stimulant...

 

It is also highly addictive

 

And other than that, it's dirt cheap, weighs a fair amount, and has preserving qualities.

 

If no food mnfctr wants to address the obscene amounts of salt thrown into foods, then it's time a gov't--local or otherwise- has to address it.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post
 

I only know what every bartender around the world knows: 

 

Salt is a thirst and appetite stimulant...

 

It is also highly addictive

 

And other than that, it's dirt cheap, weighs a fair amount, and has preserving qualities.

 

If no food mnfctr wants to address the obscene amounts of salt thrown into foods, then it's time a gov't--local or otherwise- has to address it.

 

Agreed. Many people feel that the government needs to stay out of out lives, but clearly, food manufactures are all about money and to that end will do whatever they need to do to make a profit.

post #7 of 10

From my perspective the challenge (read; unfathomable roadblock) would be to accurately track salt content of menu items.  Unless you are operating a large scale commissary situation where everything is pared out the yazoo it is going to be really difficult to gauge the salt content  on any given plate without using guess work and voodoo.

 

If you are making sauces a la minute, especially reduction sauces, can you really say with certainty what the sodium content is going to be?  You can talk to me about consistency all you want but facing facts, real consistency is all about taste and appearance and in many cases that comes adjusting seasoning on the fly, batch by batch, or even order by order.

 

Lets say you are serving cured meats.  Its easy enough to track the sodium in your cure and/or rub.  But after your brisket has been hung for 60 days can you really tell how much sodium is going to be present in each order?  Without sending it to a lab?  Same goes for pickles and preserves.

 

I also have issues (or question, I guess) regarding the pass/fail nature of salt shaker icon.  I assume it is going to be based on the total grams of sodium in a given plate.  You slip over the line, bang, there is your shaker.  So lets say you are tracking your own salt intake.  You could order three courses at a restaurant, each one just narrowly missing the shaker mark.  Or three where your salad course included salted radishes so that gets shaker, but you next two are extremely low in sodium.  Based on the pass/fail labeling you would likely assume the first option would be better while it very likely might contain more net sodium than the second.

 

The former librarian in me is all for more information being given to the customer and the public.  But only if it is good and accurate information.

post #8 of 10

I totally agree with Allan.  Many of the previous posts are in regards to manufacturing when the OP is about the restauarnt business.  These are 2 totally different animals.  In manufacturing everything is tightly measured to produce a consistent product time after time after time.  It makes sense that these to put warning labels on these (although as a opponent to big government I have an issue with them wanting to get their hands into everything).  But in the restaurant world, especially the world of fine dining it is almost impossible to accurately measure the amount of salt in a product.  Do you want your grill man or saute guy to have to weigh out the salt each time they go to season a piece of meat before cooking?  Do you want to end the chef's "line check" where he/she walks the line, tastes sauces, etc. and adjusts the seasoning, because under this rule that would be impossible as everything should have/will be measured precisely to make sure it is in compliance with the labeling law?

 

But why not just underseason things and let people then salt it for themselves, at the table?  Well, first off that then, kind of negates the whole purpose of this law as people won't be paying attention to the amount of salt that they put on their steak.  And, secondly, food just tastes better when seasoned before, or during cooking, and you achieve much more depth of flavor doing it this way instead of salting at the table.  Besides, when you season properly, while cooking, instead of just at the table, you actually end up using less salt.

 

Allan also brings up another great point about the cumulative nature of dining.  This labeling program gives a false sense of security.  Each dish may have just missed the mark for being labeled so the customer doesn't see a label and thinks that this is a low sodium dish, but, in reality, after eating 3 courses they have well surpassed the USDA recommended allowances.  And make no doubt about it, if you use such a labeling program people will interpret the lack of a symbol to mean low sodium.

 

Finally, there is the cost factor,  even if you don't take into account the possibility of variances due to last minute seasoning, each dish on the menu will need to be sent to a lab to be tested at least once to determine the actual, precise salt content.  That is a huge expense and that doesn't even take into account specials.  Would specials be exempt?  If not, then forget about truely inspired chef specials as chefs would need to create a list of tested recipes that they just rotate through, because untested specials would not meet the requirements.

 

Of course, fast food and chains would have it much easier, but this would put an undue burden on independent restuarants.  Instead of spending all this money on labels spend it on educating the public and let them make their own decisions, for good or for bad.

post #9 of 10

Most people are clueless on the amount of sodium in the food they eat. In fast food and casual dining this would be more of a factor. I feel if people are eating in a fine dining "CHEF" prepared restaurant the sodium would be much more controlled. A Chef knows the right amount of sodium to add to a dish to enhance the flavor without adding over amounts. P.S. The menu could be found on the table wedged between the wall and the salt and pepper shakers.........

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

New York City restaurant chains will soon display warning signs next to items that contain more than the daily recommended intake of sodium. Newslook

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/11/30/new-york-city-salt-warning/76563862/

 

does salt ever wash out of food while cooking? I read labels that may not list sodium but if read them close there is may types of sodium hidden in preservatives.

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/salt-warning-labels-coming-nyc-chain-restaurant-menus-article-1.2353464

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