Legislation requiring added sugars label for chain menu items introduced in New York State for the first time

Bowl of sugar packets

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More than three-quarters of New Yorkers support warnings on chain restaurant menu items with more than a day’s worth of added sugars

This week, Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblymember Karines Reyes introduced statewide legislation, S6408/A06546, that will require chain restaurants to provide warning icons on menus for items that exceed an entire day’s worth of added sugars. This is the first bill of its kind to be introduced at the state level. 

“Limiting our daily sugar intake is key to combating serious illnesses such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I am proud to sponsor this bill because New Yorkers should be able to make informed decisions about their food and beverage choices when they go out to restaurants. I look forward to working with Assemblymember Reyes to make this bill a reality and continue helping New Yorkers, especially in low-income communities, lead healthier lives."

“Excessive consumption of added sugars is contributing to the diet-related diseases that disproportionately impact Black and Latino communities,” stated Assemblymember Karines Reyes. “Providing solutions that help consumers understand what’s really is in their food is critical. When we know what’s in our food, we can make healthier choices for ourselves and our families and begin to create a routine of healthful eating.”

“It’s time for all New Yorkers to know exactly how much added sugar is hidden in the meals they consume at chain restaurants. A statewide Sweet Truth Act is just the change that New Yorkers want and need,” added CSPI senior policy associate DeAnna Nara. “Nutrition is a priority in every community, and providing warning labels for consumers is one easy way to inform and build healthier eating habits.” 

Most “small” fountain drinks at fast food restaurants have more than an entire day’s worth—50 grams, or twelve and a half teaspoons of sugar. In 2021, New York city adopted a similar requirement for added sugar warnings on pre-packaged menu items, legislation that was the first of its kind in the U.S. A statewide Sweet Truth Act would allow all New Yorkers to see at-a-glance whether the drink, dessert, entrée, or side dish they’re about to order has more than a day’s worth of added sugars. 

In a statewide poll conducted by CSPI, 78 percent of residents supported added sugars warnings on menu items in restaurants. Policy change at fast-food chains is particularly critical because these chains are disproportionately located in Black communities and offer food of lower nutritional quality as compared to other restaurants. 

New York continues to lead the nation to adopt similar measures that help communities make healthy choices and prevent and manage diet-related disease. 

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