Bill Text: NJ S828 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires certain restaurant chains to provide sodium information for items offered for sale.

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Introduced) 2018-01-09 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee [S828 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S828-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 828

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2018 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  NICHOLAS P. SCUTARI

District 22 (Middlesex, Somerset and Union)

Senator  GERALD CARDINALE

District 39 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires certain restaurant chains to provide sodium information for items offered for sale.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning retail food establishments and supplementing Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

1.As used in this act:

    "Combination meal" means a standard menu item that consists of more than one food item. A combination meal may be represented on a menu or menu board in narrative form, numerically, or pictorially, and may include a variable menu item as defined in this section, where the components vary and the customer selects which components will be included in the meal.

     "Food on display" means food that is visible to the customer before the customer makes a selection, provided there is not an ordinary expectation of further preparation by the customer before consumption.

     "High sodium content" means any standard menu item or combination meal offered by a retail food establishment which contains 2,300 mg or more of sodium.

     "Menu" means a printed list of the names or images of an individual food item, beverage item, or combination of food items, and the primary writing of a retail food establishment from which a customer makes an order selection including, but not limited to, breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus; dessert menus; beverage menus; children's menus; and other specialty menus; and may be in various forms, including booklets, pamphlets, single sheets of paper, or electronic.

     "Menu board" means a menu posted inside the retail food establishment as well as a menu posted outside a retail food establishment.

     "Point of purchase" means any place where a customer may order food within a retail food establishment.

     "Retail food establishment" means a restaurant that is part of a chain with 20 or more locations nationally doing business under the same trade name or under common ownership or control or as franchised outlets of a parent business, the principal activity of which consists of preparing a food item or beverage item, including any combination meal, for consumption.

 

     2.    A retail food establishment in this State that offers for sale any food item or beverage item, including any combination meal, with high sodium content shall display a warning. The warning shall be displayed in the following manner:

     a.  An icon shall appear on a menu or menu board next to a food item or beverage item, including any combination meal, with high sodium content, or on a tag next to any food item or beverage item, including any combination meal, with high sodium content; and

     b.  The icon shall be a black and white equilateral triangle as wide as it is tall and equal in height to the largest letter in the name of the food item or beverage item, as displayed on the menu or menu board, or tag next to any food item or beverage item on display;

     In addition, the following statement shall be posted conspicuously at the point of purchase: "This icon indicates that the sodium content of this item is higher than the total daily recommended limit (2,300 mg). High sodium intake may increase blood pressure and risk of heart disease and stroke."

 

     3.    A proprietor of a retail food establishment who violates the provisions of this act by failing to provide the information about a food item or beverage item, including any combination meal, as required in section 2 of P.L.    , c.   (c.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), or knowingly misstating the sodium content in any food item or beverage item, including any combination meal, shall be subject to a penalty of not less than $50 or more than $100 for the first offense, and not less than $250 or more than $500 for the second or any subsequent offense.  A municipal court shall have jurisdiction over proceedings to enforce and collect any penalty imposed because of a violation of this act, if the violation has occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of the court.  The proceedings shall be summary and in accordance with the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).  Process shall be in the nature of a summons or warrant and shall issue only at the suit of the Commissioner of Health, or the local board of health, as the case may be, as plaintiff.

     When the plaintiff is the Commissioner of Health, the penalty recovered shall be paid by the commissioner into the treasury of the State.  When the plaintiff is a local board of health, the penalty recovered shall be paid by the local board into the treasury of the municipality where the violation occurred.

     a.     The provisions of this act shall not be construed to create or enhance any claim, right of action, or civil liability that did not previously exist under State law or limit any claim, right of action, or civil liability that otherwise exists under State law.

     b.    There shall be no private right of action against the proprietor of a retail food establishment for failure to comply with the provisions of this act.

     c.     This act supersedes and preempts all ordinances of any county or municipality with regard to requiring retail food establishments to provide warnings concerning sodium content.

 

     4.    The Commissioner of Health shall adopt rules and regulations, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), to effectuate the purposes of this act.

     5.  This act shall take effect on the first day of the thirteenth month after the date of enactment, except the Commissioner of Health may take any anticipatory administrative action in advance as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires certain restaurant chains to provide sodium information for a food item or beverage item, including combination meals, offered for sale.

     While nutrition labeling is currently required on processed and packaged foods, this requirement does not apply in the same manner to retail food establishments in New Jersey. This bill defines "retail food establishment" as a restaurant that is part of a chain with 20 or more locations nationally doing business under a parent business or as part of a franchised outlet such as a fast food or chain restaurant.

     Currently, retail food establishments are only required to provide nutrition information when a health claim is made for a food or beverage option on the menu. For example, fast food restaurants typically make nutrition information available to consumers only upon request through brochures or on corporate Internet sites, while some other restaurants may disclose the nutrition information of their menus only via the Internet, if at all.

     According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about 75 percent of dietary sodium comes from eating packaged and restaurant foods, whereas only a small portion, 11 percent, comes from salt added to food when cooking or eating. Despite myriad efforts and initiatives to curb sodium consumption by public health and other organizations, the sodium content of fast food, in particular, appears to be on the rise.

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