Bill S2608-2011

Mandates labeling of foods containing sodium and sodium compounds

Provides that no person shall manufacture, pack, sell, offer for sale and/or expose for sale any food commodity in package form unless it is labelled with certain information relating to the approximate amount of sodium or sodium compound, in milligrams, contained in such food commodity; sets forth other specifics that shall be included on such label; exempts fresh fruits, vegetables and unprocessed meat, poultry and fish, milk and eggs, food sold for consumption on premises, and identical items within a multi-item package that is properly labeled with the sodium contents.

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  • Jan 26, 2011: REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2608

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to the labeling of foods containing sodium and sodium compounds

PURPOSE/SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Adds section 204-e to the Agriculture and Markets Law to require that packaged foods contain the following information:

* Size of serving

* Total amount of servings in the package

* The milligrams of sodium in each serving

* The words "high in sodium" or "high salted" if a serving is greater than 400 milligrams

* The words "In some people, a high salt (sodium) diet may contribute to high blood pressure" along with the words "high in sodium" or "highly salted" if a serving is greater than 800 milligrams

This legislation would exempt from the aforementioned requirements the following:

* Fresh fruits, vegetables and fresh unprocessed meat, poultry and fish

* Milk and eggs

* Food sold for consumption on the premises

* Identical items within a multi-item package that is properly labeled with the sodium contents

This legislation intends to alert consumers to the sodium content of foods.

JUSTIFICATION: It is estimated that hypertension (high blood pressure) affects over 25% of the United States population and 40% of older people. Excess dietary sodium is an adverse factor in most people prone to hypertension because excess sodium upsets the balance of sodium and potassium in the bloodstream needed for a smooth flow of bodily fluids. The whole system of modern food processing contributes to the high intake of sodium because, in the processing, potassium is lost and sodium is added (often unnecessarily). Excess sodium has also been linked to heart disease, stomach cancer, stroke, and migraines.

It is impossible for people afflicted by high blood pressure or healthy adults who simply want to curtail their sodium intake as a preventive measure, to avoid excessive amounts of sodium consumption (found in all processed foods) without some form of labeling requirement. Sodium is not found in foods that taste salty. Indeed, it is the "hidden sodium" in processed foods that is the biggest culprit.

Consider the following:

* One serving of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup - 1,222 milligrams

* One 4 ounce serving of canned sweet peas - 8OO milligrams

* One large dill pickle - 28 milligrams

* One-half slice of Devil's Food Cake - 402 milligrams

According to a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, the estimated safe sodium intake for a healthy adult should not exceed 3,000 milligrams per day. Yet, it is also estimated that sodium consumption per adult varies between 4,000 milligrams and 10,000 milligrams daily. This is some twenty to fifty times more than the body needs. Most major medical and health care organizations have repeatedly urged the federal government to take actions to mandate sodium content labeling. Yet, federal proposals would result, at best, in a voluntary measure with only a percentage of industry participating.

The medical costs associated with the treatment of hypertension related diseases and disorders are estimated at $8 billion per year nationwide. The costs associated with this proposal would be far below any health care costs this State has undertaken. According to reports, mandatory sodium labeling would generate very little expense to either government or the food industry. Industry could be allowed to use the Food and Drug Administration's nutrient data bank for information on sodium levels. The New York State Consumer Protection Board, the New York city Department of Consumer Affairs, the Cooperative Extension of Cornell University, the American Association of Retired Persons, the American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest support this legislation.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: There would be some costs incurred in the promulgation of rules and regulations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect two years after the date on which it shall have become a law, however, it shall not be deemed to affect any food commodity already packaged before the effective date of this act.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2608 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 26, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. KRUGER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer Protection AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to the labeling of foods containing sodium and sodium compounds THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new section 204-e to read as follows: S 204-E. FOODS CONTAINING SODIUM AND SODIUM COMPOUNDS. 1. NOTWITH- STANDING ANY CONTRARY PROVISION OF LAW, NO PERSON SHALL MANUFACTURE, PACK, SELL, OFFER FOR SALE AND/OR EXPOSE FOR SALE ANY FOOD COMMODITY IN PACKAGE FORM UNLESS IT IS LABELED WITH THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IN A FORM TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE COMMISSIONER: A. THE SIZE OF A SERVING OF THE FOOD COMMODITY, B. THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF SUCH SERVINGS IN THE PACKAGE, C. THE APPROXIMATE AMOUNT OF SODIUM, IN MILLIGRAMS, CONTAINED IN A SERVING OF THE FOOD COMMODITY WHICH APPROXIMATE AMOUNT SHALL REPRESENT A GOOD FAITH EFFORT MADE BY THE MANUFACTURER, PACKER OR SELLER TO LABEL SUCH PACKAGE WITH A VALUE THAT IS AS NEAR AS PRACTICABLE TO THE AMOUNT OF SODIUM IN A SERVING OF THE FOOD COMMODITY, COMPUTED TO THE NEAREST MULTIPLE OF FIVE MILLIGRAMS, AS CAN BE OBTAINED BY A REASONABLE ANALYSIS OF SUCH FOOD COMMODITY, EXCEPT THAT, IF NOT MORE THAN TEN MILLIGRAMS ARE CONTAINED IN A SPECIFIED SERVING OF THE FOOD, THE LABEL SHALL BEAR A STATEMENT TO THAT EFFECT. 2. A. IF THE APPROXIMATE AMOUNT, IN MILLIGRAMS, CONTAINED IN A SERVING IS GREATER THAN FOUR HUNDRED MILLIGRAMS, THEN EITHER THE WORDS "HIGH IN SODIUM" OR "HIGHLY SALTED" MUST ALSO BE INCLUDED ON THE LABEL OF THE PACKAGE. B. IF THE APPROXIMATE AMOUNT, IN MILLIGRAMS, CONTAINED IN A SERVING IS GREATER THAN EIGHT HUNDRED MILLIGRAMS, THEN EITHER THE WORDS "HIGH IN SODIUM" OR "HIGHLY SALTED" MUST ALSO BE INCLUDED ON THE LABEL OF THE PACKAGE ALONG WITH THE SENTENCE: "IN SOME PEOPLE A HIGH SALT (SODIUM) DIET MAY CONTRIBUTE TO HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE". 3. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION:
A. THE TERM "SODIUM" SHALL INCLUDE THE SODIUM CONTAINED IN SODIUM COMPOUNDS. B. THE TERM "FOOD COMMODITY IN PACKAGE FORM" SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO MEAN A FOOD COMMODITY PACKAGED IN ANY MANNER IN ADVANCE OF SALE IN UNITS SUITABLE FOR RETAIL SALE, AND CUSTOMARILY SOLD IN A FOOD STORE, BUT SHALL NOT INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: (I) FRESH FRUITS, FRESH VEGETABLES AND FRESH UNPROCESSED MEAT, POULTRY AND FISH; (II) MILK AND EGGS; (III) FOOD SOLD FOR CONSUMPTION ON THE PREMISES; AND (IV) IDENTICAL ITEMS WITHIN A MULTI-ITEM PACKAGE THAT IS PROPERLY LABELED WITH THE SODIUM CONTENT. C. THE TERM "SERVING" SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO MEAN THAT REASONABLE QUAN- TITY OF FOOD SUITED FOR, OR PRACTICABLE FOR, CONSUMPTION AS PART OF A MEAL BY AN ADULT MALE ENGAGED IN LIGHT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, OR BY AN INFANT OR CHILD UNDER FOUR YEARS OF AGE WHEN THE ARTICLE PURPORTS TO, OR IS REPRESENTED TO BE, FOR CONSUMPTION BY AN INFANT OR CHILD UNDER FOUR YEARS OF AGE. D. THE TERM "APPROXIMATE AMOUNT OF SODIUM" SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO MEAN A "REPRESENTATIVE VALUE" IN MILLIGRAMS OF THE AMOUNT OF SODIUM CONTAINED IN A SERVING OF THE FOOD COMMODITY AND SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED SO RIGIDLY AS TO NOT ALLOW DEVIATIONS FROM THE VALUE LABELED BECAUSE OF DIFFER- ENCES IN THE AREAS WHERE THE FOOD COMMODITY IS GROWN OR BECAUSE OF SEASONAL CROP DIFFERENCES. 4. A. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE ENFORCED BY THE MUNICI- PAL DIRECTORS OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES APPOINTED PURSUANT TO ARTICLE SIXTEEN OF THIS CHAPTER. THE EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE THE ISSUANCE OF A REMOVAL ORDER, AS PROVIDED IN PARA- GRAPH B OF THIS SUBDIVISION, AND THE CIVIL PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY THEREWITH, AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH D OF THIS SUBDIVISION. B. WHENEVER ANY MUNICIPAL WEIGHTS AND MEASURES OFFICIAL FINDS ANY PACKAGED FOOD OR FOOD PRODUCT BEING SOLD, OFFERED OR EXPOSED FOR SALE IN VIOLATION OF ANY SUBDIVISION OF THIS SECTION, HE SHALL ISSUE A REMOVAL ORDER. SUCH ORDER SHALL BE IN WRITING, SHALL IDENTIFY THE FOOD OR FOOD PRODUCT WHICH IS IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION AND DIRECT THAT SUCH FOOD OR FOOD PRODUCT BE IMMEDIATELY REMOVED FROM SALE. C. IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL FOR ANY PERSON TO SELL, OFFER OR EXPOSE FOR SALE ANY FOOD OR FOOD PRODUCT FOR WHICH A REMOVAL ORDER HAS BEEN ISSUED AND IS IN EFFECT PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. D. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH A REMOVAL ORDER SHALL CONSTITUTE A SEPARATE VIOLATION WITH RESPECT TO EACH PACKAGE OR CONTAINER WHICH IS NOT IMME- DIATELY REMOVED FROM SALE. EACH DAY OR PART THEREOF A VIOLATION IS CONTINUED SHALL CONSTITUTE A SEPARATE VIOLATION. THE MUNICIPAL DIRECTOR OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES MAY REFER THE EVIDENCE OF A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION TO THE ATTORNEY FOR THE MUNICIPALITY FOR THE COMMENCEMENT OF A CIVIL ACTION, IN THE NAME OF THE MUNICIPALITY, TO RECOVER A CIVIL PENAL- TY IN THE AMOUNTS PRESCRIBED IN SECTION THIRTY-NINE OF THIS CHAPTER. A CAUSE OF ACTION FOR RECOVERY OF SUCH PENALTY MAY BE RELEASED, SETTLED OR COMPROMISED BY THE MUNICIPAL DIRECTOR BEFORE THE MATTER IS REFERRED TO THE MUNICIPAL ATTORNEY OR THEREAFTER BY SUCH ATTORNEY. NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION FORTY-FIVE OF THIS CHAPTER, ALL MONEYS COLLECTED HEREUNDER SHALL BE RETAINED BY THE MUNICIPALITY. S 2. This act shall take effect 2 years after the date on which it shall have become a law; however, it shall not be deemed to affect any food commodity already packaged before the effective date of this act.

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