Nanny says “No salt!!”

I guess the FDA was feeling left out after the EPA decided that carbon dioxide was a pollutant and a public danger.  I mean, why shouldn’t they join the party and make themselves look ridiculous, too? But how best to do it… I know! Let’s regulate the salt you’re allowed to eat!

The Food and Drug Administration is planning an unprecedented effort to gradually reduce the salt consumed each day by Americans, saying that less sodium in everything from soup to nuts would prevent thousands of deaths from hypertension and heart disease. The initiative, to be launched this year, would eventually lead to the first legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in food products.

The government intends to work with the food industry and health experts to reduce sodium gradually over a period of years to adjust the American palate to a less salty diet, according to FDA sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the initiative had not been formally announced.

Officials have not determined the salt limits. In a complicated undertaking, the FDA would analyze the salt in spaghetti sauces, breads and thousands of other products that make up the $600 billion food and beverage market, sources said. Working with food manufacturers, the government would set limits for salt in these categories, designed to gradually ratchet down sodium consumption. The changes would be calibrated so that consumers barely notice the modification.

The legal limits would be open to public comment, but administration officials do not think they need additional authority from Congress.

Maybe they don’t need any additional authority (maybe), but they need a good dose of common sense. Processed foods are already required to list their ingredients; if someone has to monitor their sodium intake, then treat them as an adult and let them make those choices for themselves. We don’t need a multi-billion dollar program (Come on, you just know it will cost that much.) to pay for government regulators to guard us from the dangers inherent in the humble potato chip.

But there’s the problem: the essence of the progressive-statist mindset is exactly that you are not competent to decide for yourselves, that government has to watch over you, protect you from yourself. For the good of all, it has to treat you like a child. Snack foods, health care, how your money is spent… There is no end to Nanny’s need to, well, nanny you.

Of course, science really doesn’t enter into this decision: the consensus has been that salt is related to heart disease, thus giving the FDA its reason for action. Yet recent studies have called that consensus into question; the science may not be so settled. (via Hot Air) Not that this utterly disproves salt’s connection to heart disease, but it should give reasonable people pause before creating an expensive (and taste-killing) regulatory regime.

But Nanny isn’t reasonable.

LINKS: At Legal Insurrection, William Jacobson thinks the government has finally found its jobs plan. Fausta calls it lunacy.

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5 Responses to Nanny says “No salt!!”

  1. Porkchop says:

    There’s a new law (already passed) requiring the same kind of labeling you see on food you buy in the grocery store for meals you buy at restaurants. They may have that in California already, I dunno. This bothers me because of the expense: I can add more salt, so the gov’t will fail to reduce the amount in my diet.

    What boggles is that the FDA isn’t doing its job now (ensuring the safety of the food supply), so there’s no way they can do this without adding tons of jobs. I’d be OK with it if they were adding the tons of jobs to do what they’re supposed to, you know, making sure the food supply is safe.

    • Phineas Fahrquar says:

      We have a similar law about restaurant menus here, but I think that was as a result of federal legislation – maybe it was under ObamaCare? As for your second paragraph, I wholly agree.

      • Porkchop says:

        I think California was in front on the restaurant labeling: we still don’t have it here.

  2. Steve says:

    THANK YOU for posting this! I love your blog!!

    Common Cents
    http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

    ps. Link Exchange???

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