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High Sugar Warnings on Food Service Establishment Menus

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Rule status: Proposed

Agency: DOHMH

Comment by date: May 23, 2024

Rule Full Text

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“the Department”) is proposing to add a new Chapter 39 (Added Sugar Warning) to Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York, requiring food service establishments to warn consumers about menu items containing high amounts of added sugar. While the Department invites comment regarding the entire proposal, the Department is particularly seeking comments on the health outcomes included in the proposed warning statement: “Eating too many added sugars can contribute to type 2 diabetes and weight gain”.

Attendees who need reasonable accommodation for a disability such as a sign language translation should contact the agency by calling 1 (347) 396-6078 or emailing [email protected] by May 9, 2024

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  • Email: [email protected]
  • Fax: 1 (347) 396-6087
  • Mail: The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Gotham Center, 42-09 28th Street, CN31 ; Long Island City, New York 11101

Public Hearings


May 23, 2024
10:00am - 12:00pm EDT


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Disability Accommodation

Comments are now closed.

Online comments: 18

  • Lara Sokoloff

    I would like to say that eating too much sugar does not directly cause diabetes. However, eating too much sugar from sugar sweetened beverages can cause a person to gain weight and having excess weight can lead to developing diabetes. I am a registered dietitian and see the effects of what having diabetes can have on a person every day. I work with patients who are on dialysis, and many have diabetes. The knowledge that dialysis and limb loss can be a result of having diabetes is not explained enough to people with diabetes or those at risk of getting diabetes. As a society, we need to prepare individuals for the risks that a poor diet can bring to someone. It is unfortunate that we have come to this point, but it is necessary. Warnings on certain foods are needed. It may not change a person’s decision to eat that particular food, but it may make them understand better that what you eat really does matter.

    Comment added April 24, 2024 1:58pm
  • Dante M

    These menu labeling requirements have not yielded any change in consumer purchasing habits. Sugar consumption is not a hidden secret. All franchises have nutritional information available online and on most apps. It’s available to everyone. Also limiting these requirements to franchises and not all restaurants, carts, and bodegas is unfair and if the goal is to protect the public the millions of people that buy products at these locations will still be unprotected. This is another potential regulation that will only yield $$ when city inspectors visit franchise restaurants. No benefit to the public

    Comment added May 7, 2024 6:44pm
  • the goat

    i fw this law we should pass it
    next we must ban
    all artificial coloring
    and sweetners
    No more cancer

    Comment added May 17, 2024 11:00am
  • August

    Why are they even allowed?

    Comment added May 17, 2024 11:07am
  • Wali Ullah

    A big shoutout to the City for stepping up with the Sweet Truth Act! It’s refreshing to see such decisive action being taken to improve public health by tackling the issue of added sugars. This kind of leadership is what makes a real difference.

    Comment added May 22, 2024 9:53pm
  • Musfika Moshahid

    The link between excessive sugar intake and serious health issues like diabetes and heart disease cannot be ignored. It’s alarming to learn that even a small soda can exceed daily sugar recommendations. Kudos to the City for addressing this and helping raise public awareness.”

    Comment added May 22, 2024 9:55pm
  • AjiFanta Marenah

    While the Act is a great start, enhancing the visibility of warnings could make an even bigger impact. Suggestions like adding warning statements at multiple locations and including both icons and text are spot on for ensuring everyone notices and understands the risks.

    Comment added May 22, 2024 9:57pm
  • Husein Yatabarry

    The Sweet Truth Act is a commendable step by the City to address the serious health issues linked to excessive sugar consumption, especially in beverages. It’s essential for public health that consumers are empowered with clear, visible warnings about high sugar content directly where decisions are made—be it at soda fountains, on printed and electronic menus. By enhancing consumer awareness and facilitating informed choices, this legislation not only helps combat diet-related diseases like diabetes, which disproportionately affect our most vulnerable communities but also supports the broader goal of health equity. As overwhelming public support indicates, New Yorkers are ready for this change, and further improvements in visibility and comprehensiveness of these warnings could amplify the benefits. Let’s continue to support such forward-thinking policies that prioritize the well-being of all city residents.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added May 22, 2024 9:59pm
  • Sumi Sarkar

    I am testifying on behalf of India Home, a non-profit organization founded by healthcare professionals in New York. India Home serves South Asian older adults through culturally competent programs and support services. Since our inception, we have touched the lives of over 5,000 older adults through our holistic programs such as congregate meals, senior center services, case management, creative aging, mental health services, advocacy, and educational and recreational activities.

    India Home leads the city’s largest and most secular senior center programs aimed at empowering and improving the quality of life of diverse South Asian and Indo-Caribbean immigrant seniors residing across Queens and beyond. Everyday we work to promote healthier aging in our seniors, and we emphasize this through helping our seniors to develop and maintain healthy eating habits. Nutrition labels have a particularly critical role in shaping the health and lifestyles of our seniors. Amending the proposed rules, modifying the warning statement language to address the risks of high added sugar intake is most crucial. This amendment should require the warning to be posted on menus and at self-service dispensing points like soda fountains. NYCDOHMH should ensure compliance with Local Law 150 by covering all three required locations for the warning statement: (1) “prominently and conspicuously at the point of purchase,” (2) “on the menu or menu board,” and (3) “at any location where a food item requiring an icon pursuant to this subdivision is sold as a self-service item dispensed directly to the consumer.”

    New Yorkers Deserve to Know the Sweet Truth about Added Sugar: Impacts of type 2 diabetes. First, the senior population we serve at India Home will benefit greatly from this bill. Aging is a known risk factor for diabetes, and the elderly population in NYC is growing, with the senior population in Queens expected to increase 38% by 2030, according to projections by the NY Health Foundation. Since many seniors are on fixed incomes, and some have impaired cognitive processing abilities, we need to give them tools to help them navigate their food environments, specifically addressing nutrients of concern, like added sugars. Nutrient warning icons are an accessible and widely supported tool that helps individuals identify foods with excessive amounts of added sugars and provide a pictorial element that makes them accessible to low literacy and non-English speaking consumers, ultimately providing more equitable access to information. This bill will meet the needs of our Seniors, many of whom are not fluent in English especially once icons are accompanied by text.

    Secondly, research has consistently found that people of South Asian descent are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, even at a lower body mass index when compared to other ancestral groups. This vulnerability implies the need to be especially aware about nutrition.
    India Home has regularly testified at the Committee on Health, and we’ve been on the forefront of advocating for regulations favoring the health and wellbeing of seniors. We request that local city officials advocate in support of the Sweet Truth Bill – a law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring added sugar notifications for menu items in chain restaurants.

    Furthermore, issuing guidance to restaurants on electronic menus and ordering systems would enhance the effectiveness of this initiative in promoting public health and nutrition awareness among diverse communities.

    Comment added May 22, 2024 11:24pm
  • Christina Roberto & Marlene Schwartz

    Please see attached comments.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added May 23, 2024 10:10am
  • Isaiah

    This is such a great step toward letting regular folks know what they put in their bodies. Of course, we know these foods aren’t the healthiest, but labeling will provide guidance for consumers to make better choices. Even better if sugar levels reduce to get rid of these warnings all together!

    Comment added May 23, 2024 10:20am
  • Dr. DeAnna Nara

    See attached comment in strong support of the department’s proposed rule.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added May 23, 2024 10:20am
  • Eman Faris

    Please find attached.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added May 23, 2024 2:07pm
  • Pasquale Rummo

    Thank you for the opportunity testify at today’s hearing regarding the proposed rule for the Sweet Truth Act. My name is Dr. Pasquale Rummo, and I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. I conduct scientific research that informs policies and public health programs seeking to improve healthy food choices and prevent nutrition-related diseases. One of my areas of focus is nutrition labeling and its impact on food purchasing behaviors.

    While I support the proposed rule, the research supports several key changes to the amendment that I would like to recommend to improve the effectiveness of the proposed rule.

    First, I propose that DOHMH should amend the proposed warning statement language to, “Consuming too many added sugars can increase risk of type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and tooth decay.” The current warning statement, “Eating too many added sugars can contribute to type 2 diabetes and weight gain,” is narrow in scope. There is compelling scientific evidence that high intake of added sugars can increase risk of type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and tooth decay. This increased risk is also imparted by drinking beverages with high added sugars, in addition to “eating too many” added sugars. This is consistent with the existing sodium warning statement, which states: “High sodium intake can increase blood pressure and risk of heart disease and stroke.” Therefore, I recommend that DOHMH update the warning statement language to, “Consuming too many added sugars can increase risk of type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and tooth decay.”

    Second, I propose that DOHMH should amend the proposed rule to require posting the warning statement in three locations within restaurants in line with Local Law 150 text. Local Law 150 requires that the factual warning statement be posted in three locations: (1) “prominently and conspicuously at the point of purchase,” (2) “on the menu or menu board,” and (3) “at any location where a food item requiring an icon pursuant to this subdivision is sold as a self-service item dispensed directly to the consumer.” However, the proposed rule only specifies that “The following statement must be posted prominently and conspicuously at the point of purchase of a covered establishment….” The proposed rule omits the requirement to post the warning statement on the menu or menu board, and also locations where a food or beverage item with high added sugars are sold as a self-service item dispensed directly to the consumer. This is a problem because research strongly suggests that labels must be noticed to be effective, which is more feasible if the warning is displayed in all locations where customers make choices about potential purchases, including fountain soda dispensers.

    Third, I propose that DOHMH should amend the proposed rule to enhance the warning icon, including adding text, changing the color, and modifying the design of the icon. Recent evidence suggests that warning icons accompanied by text, compared to icon-only designs, lead to greater reductions in target nutrients per order, due to large increases in noticeability. This work also indicates that added sugar warning labels in the color red (vs. black), 150% (vs. 100%) of menu item text, and positioned to the right (vs. left) of the menu item text are more noticeable. Based on this research, I strongly recommend that DOHMH amend its proposed rule to mandate that the warning icon be accompanied by an explanatory statement in all three locations indicated by Local Law 150, such as “ADDED SUGAR WARNING.” Philadelphia, for example, requires sodium warning label icons plus text, so precedence exists for such an approach. The proposed design is also visually ambiguous. I suggest that DOHMH consider a design that clearly indicates that a product is high in added sugar, especially if warning text is absent, including designs developed and tested by researchers and other countries.

    In sum, I proposed several modifications to the proposed rule, including:
    1. Amending the proposed warning statement language to, “Consuming too many added sugars can increase risk of type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and tooth decay.”
    2. Requiring posting the warning statement in three locations within restaurants: at the point of purchase, on the menu or menu board, and at any location where a food or beverage item with high added sugars are sold as a self-service item dispensed directly to the consumer, including fountain soda dispensers.
    3. Adding the text “ADDED SUGAR WARNING” to the icon.
    4. Modifying the label to be red, 150% of menu text, and positioned to the right of menu items.
    5. Designing the label to clearly indicate that a product is high in added sugar by using pre-existing options.

    Thank you again for the opportunity to provide testimony.

    Please see attached PDF document for comments with references.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added May 23, 2024 2:21pm
  • Catherine Cochran

    As an NYC resident, I am very excited about this proposed rule. Not only will this rule enhance transparency for consumers, but it will also benefit public health. Like sodium, overconsumption of added sugars is linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease. This rule will give NYers, like myself, the power to make more informed decisions about their health and their families’ health.

    Comment added May 23, 2024 3:50pm
  • Jennifer Falbe, Brittany Lemmon, Anna Grummon, Marissa Hall, and Pasquale Rummo

    Please see the attached comments.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added May 23, 2024 3:55pm
  • Latoya Meaders

    Passing the proposal to add Chapter 39 to Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York is especially important for protecting the health of young consumers. Adolescents and children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of high added sugar intake, which can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. By requiring chain restaurants to warn about menu items high in added sugar, this regulation empowers young people and their families to make healthier dietary choices.

    Given the significant amount of time that young consumers and families spend dining out, having clear, visible warnings about added sugar content can play a crucial role in reducing excessive sugar consumption. This proactive approach not only fosters better eating habits from a young age but also supports long-term health and wellness. By prioritizing the health of its younger residents, New York City can set a powerful example, promoting a culture of informed, health-conscious decision-making that benefits future generations.

    Comment added May 23, 2024 4:15pm
  • Emily Friedman

    See attached comment in strong support of the department’s proposed rule.

    Comment attachment
    Comment added May 23, 2024 4:55pm