Getting Salty About Government Plans

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - April 28, 2010

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is preparing to exert more control over your lives. Various medical experts and consumer watch-dog groups are urging the FDA to mandate limits to salt consumption in processed food, restaurants and food-service companies.

According to proponents of this “pantry infiltration,” the restrictions are necessary because Americans love salt too much, ergo we can’t be trusted to break this addiction. This sounds like Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. reports that Americans consume an average of 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day, which is in excess of the 2,400 milligram maximum determined under the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. By the way, 3,400 milligrams of sodium is equal to 1.5 teaspoons of salt per day. In comparison, The Institute of Medicine deems a daily intake of 1,500 milligrams of sodium to be “adequate.”


I am always a little suspicious of such wide-sweeping proclamations.

Remember the FDA changing the definition of obesity? When Michael Jordan made the list, the credibility of that benchmark went out the window.

There are spirited arguments on both sides of the issue of mandatory versus voluntary controls on sodium intake. My concern lies with government using selective data and political correctness to ingratiate itself into private industry selling and using legal substances. Perhaps one way to enhance the justification for controls is the possible categorical shift of salt from a seasoning to a food additive. That’s the essence of power in government. When the rules need changing to fit an agenda, rest assured those changes will be made.

The paramount concern with this effort is the enforcement of potential policy or legislation. Will there be FDA “agents” who will police your salt intake? Could you be busted for hiding excessive amounts of salt? Will Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville be banned since he references “a shaker of salt?” Maybe you’ll need to request salt from a pharmacist, just like Sudafed, and present a permit from the FDA. How about raids, like the old time “speakeasies,” on certain restaurants that may exceed the government mandate on sodium levels? With this environment, even God would be in trouble for turning Lot’s wife to salt.

If it’s salt today, what’s next for government restriction and control?

It’s clear the government wants to save you from yourself, so why not start with what you learned as a child? Your government could use existing agencies or, better yet, create new ones to enforce laws relating to the following:

* Running with scissors.

* Talking to strangers.

* Eliminating the “five second” rule for food dropped on the floor.

* No swimming for 30 minutes after eating.

* Don’t play in the rain.

* Don’t cross your eyes. They’ll get stuck.

* Sitting too close to the TV.

* Eat your vegetables!

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