The National Restaurant Association (NRA) on Jan. 11 issued the following statement from Sue Hensley, senior vice president for public affairs communications, in response to the recent announcement by the New York City Board of Health about a voluntary sodium reduction initiative targeting the foodservice industry:
"The National Restaurant Association is committed to being a part of the solution in helping Americans live healthier lives. We commend the New York City Board of Health for sharing our goal of helping customers identify healthier choices; however we differ on how the industry should ultimately achieve that goal.

"We appreciate that the New York City program is voluntary, however we believe that a more effective approach should include a national discussion and a comprehensive look at the many components of healthy living. The restaurant industry is highly sensitive to consumer desires and trends, and restaurants offer a wide variety of menu choices to meet individual dietary needs and tastes. To better serve consumers, the industry is committed to providing healthy choices and is working collaboratively with manufacturers, suppliers and health organizations to reduce sodium.

"The greatest long-term positive impact for healthier dining options lies with a better educated consumer. The [NRA] has worked in conjunction with more than 75 health organizations across the country as well as consumer advocacy groups, to support a national, uniform standard that would provide a wide range of nutrition information in chain restaurants--including sodium--to consumers.

"The National Restaurant Association is working with our members on a comprehensive approach to healthy living that is flexible for our diverse membership and positive for consumers.
For more information about the proposed initiative, visit the New York City Board of Health homepage.