Great news: FDA to regulate salt in processed foods

posted at 11:36 am on April 20, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

How does government intervention get sold to citizens?  First, publicize a “crisis” and warn that dire consequences will follow without some immediate changes.  Push people into changing their choices voluntarily with social pressure and warnings of impending disaster.  At some point, declare those efforts insufficient and propose government intervention as the only way to save people from themselves.

DDT? Global warming?  Alar?  No … salt:

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 FDA has never interjected itself into the recipes of prepared foods.  Instead, they have enforced full disclosure on labels, allowing consumers to select the healthiest options for themselves if they wish.  Why the change?  The FDA says we can’t choose for ourselves:

Until now, the government has pushed the food industry to voluntarily reduce salt and tried to educate consumers about the dangers of excessive sodium. But in a study to be released Wednesday, an expert panel convened by the Institute of Medicine concludes that those measures have failed. The panel will recommend that the government take action, according to sources familiar with the findings.

Of course they will!  But there’s just one little problem.  According to the latest research, sodium intake isn’t really a health problem for normal adults. An Einstein University study in 2008 showed no connection between cardiovascular disease risk and higher-sodium diets:

High-salt diets may not increase the risk of death, contrary to long-held medical beliefs, according to investigators from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

They reached their conclusion after examining dietary intake among a nationally representative sample of adults in the U.S. The Einstein researchers actually observed a significantly increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) associated with lower sodium diets.

The researchers analyzed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), which was conducted by the federal government among a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. These data were then compared against death records that had been collected by the government through the year 2000. The sample of approximately 8,700 represented American adults who were over 30 years of age at the time of the baseline survey (1988-1994) and were not on a special low-salt diet.

After adjusting for known CVD risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes and blood pressure, the one-fourth of the sample who reported consuming the lowest amount of sodium were found to be 80% more likely to die from CVD compared to the one-fourth of the sample consuming the highest level of sodium. The risk for death from any cause appeared 24% greater for those consuming lower salt, but this latter difference was not quite large enough to dismiss the role of chance.

“Our findings suggest that for the general adult population, higher sodium is very unlikely to be independently associated with higher risk of death from CVD or all other causes of death,” says Dr. Hillel W. Cohen, associate professor of epidemiology and population health at Einstein.

But why let science spoil all of the nanny-state fun?  Don’t let facts get in the way of a crisis model for government intervention.  After all, it’s for your own good, which the elites in the federal bureaucracy obviously understand better than you do.

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If they ban salt, husbands will start beating their wives
/Harry Reid

trs on April 20, 2010 at 9:10 PM

Hey honey, wanna try my salt lick?

trs on April 20, 2010 at 9:10 PM

They’re regulating the precious salt on my tea bagging balls now? This lunacy has to stop!!!

Denverslim on April 20, 2010 at 8:51 PM


Who is John Galt on April 20, 2010 at 9:32 PM


Once we get the chip implanted it will have a monitoring device (remotely programmed via the Google Computing cloud) and the device will let us know thru a tiny, wittle bitty electro shock when we try and exceed our daily allotment of Soylent Green chips (Fed gov issue).!v=edQNjJZFdLU&feature=related

After all isn’t the only thing to do (to eliminate all “food deserts” as Michelle says) is to make sure everyone has an equitable nutritional outcome via the Soylent Green chips (ssssshhhh, they’re supposed to be really nutritious)?

Would it be called “Nutritional Justice“?

PappyD61 on April 20, 2010 at 9:37 PM

The link didn’t get pasted correctly in the previous post.

If you want to see your future nutrition this one will be Michelle approved.

PappyD61 on April 20, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Well it’s too late groups have already taken the label


I guess anything wacky I should just Google it first and see if it actually already exist!!!

Folks if we survive till January 20, 2013 it will be a GOD BASED MIRACLE

PappyD61 on April 20, 2010 at 9:43 PM

Actually this may be one area where the government should get involved. The amount of salt in food is scandalous and leads to all kinds of complications including high blood pressure, stomach cancer and stroke. But salt also slows down weight loss for dieters and, worst of all, it increases appetite as potato chip manufacturers know all too well in “betcha’ can’t eat just one’.

But don’t people see the irony here? What Lord Obama giveth, Lord Obama taketh away. A significant reduction in salt intake will lead to more middle aged people for Obama Death Panels to refuse giving life-saving drugs and medical equipment to. But, of course, by that time, the government will be so desperate for trained doctors, that anybody who got a C- in high school biology will be deemed a “qualified medical practitioner”.

MaiDee on April 20, 2010 at 9:54 PM

How the heck can the FDA do this without legislation from Congress authorizing them to do so?

That’s the heart of the constitutional crisis we are facing.

Bureaucrats think they don’t need laws by elected officials anymore, they can just decide things on their own.

Sackett on April 20, 2010 at 10:02 PM

Do democrats sit around wondering what rights they can take away next?

I actually did have a doctor tell me that salt is not really the bad thing they used to think it was. So I don’t even think there is a consensus that this is even a problem.

That leads me to wonder what’s up? Who benefits from this? Yes with dems it’s always about power. But I am inclined to think in a more sinister way these days.

Someone makes money here. Or there is some political gain.

This is too stupid to not have something behind it.

petunia on April 20, 2010 at 10:12 PM

This is truly, wholly sickening. I wish I could see the humor in it that the rest of you see, but all I see is tyranny. It will not end until something drastic happens, but I will purposely remain vague about that so I can avoid the ban hammer.

fossten on April 20, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Well that does seem a bit exterme. Don’t worry Dems won’t be in power forever. And you can always horde salt just in case.

petunia on April 20, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Salt Prohibition. What’s next? Will the liberal democrats ban butter? sugar? Is this really about being healthy or is this about the liberals (save the eco system) pet peeves? Either way, lots of JOBS lost in the salt mines.

TN Mom on April 20, 2010 at 10:41 PM

Next … taking the butter out of popcorn

J_Crater on April 20, 2010 at 11:30 PM

I have to limit my sodium intake due to Congestive Heart Failure. If I keep my sodium intake under 500 mg daily I don’t have to take a a pill to get rid of excessive water. It would be nice if food products had less sodium, but I don’t trust the government to stop there. Sooner or later they would ban salt or slap an excessive tax on it as they do cigarettes. I guess that, in the end, the best thing would be for everyone to take responsibility for their own food choices.

lewis1940 on April 20, 2010 at 11:42 PM

The Founders would have recommended you to a Looney Bin if you’d suggested this as a result of the Commerce Clause.

Salt is no threat to healthy people unless you eat an insane amount.

The sad thing is most canned foods do have too much salt – because they’re lazy and overcook the food, then add salt to hide the bitterness. And I’ll admit low-sodium food is a crappy market compared to the useless low-fat craze.

BUT that’s no excuse for the feds to stick their grubby fingers in my food.

Also, while some people take in too little sodium and make themselves sick, I do wonder how much the study mentioned corrected for the fact that a lot of people choose a diet like that because of a predilection for CVD – I’m sure they corrected for known conditions.

Merovign on April 20, 2010 at 11:46 PM

J_Crater on April 20, 2010 at 11:30 PM

The Euroweenies are doing you one better than that.

Personally, I’d make it the official snack of Dear Leader’s regime.

B+ for ‘presentation’, F- for ‘content’.

CPT. Charles on April 20, 2010 at 11:57 PM

You could make yourself sick by taking too little sodium but you would have to work at it. I know of people who take in less than I do with no problems. I think that the min. recommended intake is 500 mg daily. I suspect that 100 mg would be sufficient, but I would not recommend it.

lewis1940 on April 21, 2010 at 12:05 AM

More salt in processed food ?? Blame Global Warming.

J_Crater on April 21, 2010 at 12:14 AM

Nothing new under the sun…Food for millennium was preserved with salt, but no…now we have to cut back…

Inanemergencydial on April 21, 2010 at 12:27 AM

Whether or not salt is bad for some people is not really the issue.

The issue is about fascist control.

Another example of: Everyone shall suffer so that no one will suffer.

Dhuka on April 21, 2010 at 1:26 AM

I have a stomach disorder and mostly eat bland food–few vegetables, fruits and salads, and lots of breads and dairy.

My diet works for me, and because I don’t digest properly, I even stay skinny (maybe too skinny).

Hey, I have a great idea. Let’s pass this disease around. The Death Panels have concluded that a stomach disorder is better than heart disease–it’s easier to control and more easily treated, and it costs less. And it cures the obesity problem.

Crohn’s Disease for everyone. Don’t mind the excruciating stomach pain. You can live with it.

Grace_is_sufficient on April 21, 2010 at 6:14 AM

Next they’ll ban flavor. By law, everything must taste like a circus peanut.

Daggett on April 21, 2010 at 8:05 AM

In all honesty, that Nutra System crap nearly killed me. My BP shot up to numbers I didnt know existed on that crap. Shame though, it did have flavor.

johnnyU on April 21, 2010 at 8:44 AM

The original idea of FDA has some benefits, such as correct labeling, and protecting imported foods or drug from being contaminated. Origins of FDA came out of concern for vaccine problems that resulted in deaths of children. Vaccine Act of 1813. The start of the FDA is traced to Division of Chemistry under Department of Agriculture, in 1862 under Lincoln. It became the Bureau of Chemistry in 1883 with Harvey Washington Wiley appointed as chief chemist. In 1906 Food and Drugs Act and The Meat Inspection Act was passed under FDR, this is when the problems started. Many of the provisions FDR pushed was found unconstitutional. States Rights was being violated and FDR used the law to go after companies he deemed not giving enough wages or other unsuitable work conditions. The SCOTUS has had to step in many times and stop the centralization of the government. Still public health was concern as many products was being mislabeled. 1913 Gould Amendment required labeling with contents and quantity. The Harrison Narcotic Act in 1914 is when prescriptions was required for Narcotics. At this time Heroin and Cannabis was still legal. It got it’s name FDA in 1930. 1940 FDA transferred from the Department of Agriculture to the Federal Security Agency 1953 Federal Security Agency becomes the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). The congress has been expanding and modifying its mission and scope numerous times and the supreme court has had to struck down its rules and regulations also many times for being unconstitutional. It’s place in the government has been changed and policing powers given to it under different provisions. It has been combined and split up into different agencies many times. Any time there is some public out cry of some sort congress gos back and reorganizes the FDA and makes new rules. It is truly The MISSION CREEP Queen. EPA is also a child of the FDA. Between the FDA and EPA there is no part of your life that they do not have ability to control. You have to ask permissions to do any life function, from build a home to eat your food. Congress has gotten so tired of making laws related to them it has given them broad powers and only has to hold a show trial investigation when there is a public out cry.

Ed Laskie on April 21, 2010 at 8:49 AM

No, let’s go all out with 12M NaOH and 12 M HCL. just don’t spill it on yourself. That’ll leave a mark.

Rightwingguy on April 20, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Scary. Did that once w/ just 1M NaOH. Yikes.
I got the concentrated HCl in the bottle.
It’s scary when you pour it-a cloud of vapors escape slowly from the bottle.

Badger40 on April 21, 2010 at 9:04 AM

I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my shepherd. I am a lion and I refuse to talk, to walk, to sleep with the sheep.

rollthedice on April 21, 2010 at 9:05 AM

Just thought of something- foodstamp recipients would be banned from using food stamps/EBT card to purchase soda, chips & other things.
I say only ban those people from purchasing those foods w/ govt $$.
Then the Farm Bill would probably be a lot cheaper.

Badger40 on April 21, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Damn them! They’ve already ruined sugared cereal. Anyone eat Trix lately? Not like the good old days!

sheesh on April 21, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Taking this lead… perhaps the US Dept of Health & Human Services should force behavioral changes to prevent the transmission of HIV.

Make promiscous sex and IV drug use illegal.

Oh, wait, the majority of people who exhibit this behavior likely vote Democrat…

Danny on April 21, 2010 at 12:14 PM

PLEASE…..Just start grinding up people and make chips out of them and kill two birds with one stone.

Since man causes Global Warming, you can just use man to solve the feeding problem, thus saving all the pollution that man is causing in agriculture running those evil tractors.

Then once we run out of Soylent Green chips we will have solved the problem (of course some must be kept alive to till the ground for our Elite masters that will continue to have their own $100 a pound beef and fly on jets to posh “summits” and “conferences”.

This will all be regulated by the EPA & FDA, etc.

Speaking of which since this new mandate on Salt is coming down from the FDA could Cass Sunstein “the regulation czar” be at work here encouraging this behind the scenes?

And you bet SUGAR IS NEXT.

PappyD61 on April 21, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Insane. Utterly useless as a preventative, since salt is harmless, and and potentially dangerous for people who being treated for hypertension. If you are taking medication for high-blood pressure, you are usually warned that you should not reduce your salt intake without medical supervision. That can lead to low blood pressure, which has its own hazards.

GalosGann on April 21, 2010 at 12:51 PM

I have to limit my sodium intake due to Congestive Heart Failure. If I keep my sodium intake under 500 mg daily I don’t have to take a a pill to get rid of excessive water. It would be nice if food products had less sodium, but I don’t trust the government to stop there. Sooner or later they would ban salt or slap an excessive tax on it as they do cigarettes. I guess that, in the end, the best thing would be for everyone to take responsibility for their own food choices.

lewis1940 on April 20, 2010 at 11:42 PM

I sympathize with your plight and appreciate your attitude about taking responsibility, but I’m curious why you would avoid the water pills.

My grandmother had congestive heart failure. She lived to be 94 and finally died from a stroke. Every one of us grandkids ended up in the emergency room with her at one time during her last 20-25 years because she wouldn’t take the damn water pills. She’d wait until she couldn’t breathe, call one of us, and we’d call the ambulance.

I could not believe she did it for attention because of the undignified treatment she got in the emergency room. They’d give her the diuretic, stick a bed pan under her and leave her alone. I had to go out to the desk and beg one of the nurses to come help her because she wouldn’t let me change it out.

I never understood why she wouldn’t take those pills.

Jaynie59 on April 21, 2010 at 1:10 PM

It has been shown that there is a strong correlation to the consumption of water to certain death. Everyone who has ever consumed water on a regular basis will die. It is well documented. Where is the FDA when we need it!!!

Dasher on April 21, 2010 at 1:22 PM

I keep trying to post my thoughts on this topic, but all I can come up with are profanity laced rants.

LegendHasIt on April 21, 2010 at 2:24 PM

“I sympathize with your plight and appreciate your attitude about taking responsibility, but I’m curious why you would avoid the water pills.”

Jaynie59 on April 21, 2010 at 1:10 PMxxxx

I don’t take the pills because if I keep my sodium intake under 500mg per day, I don’t need them. I weigh every day and if my weight goes up two pounds or more I take one. If my weight remains about the same I don’t take them.

lewis1940 on April 21, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Could we find a federal agency to lower Americans’ taxes, and redistribute them to the liberals who want us to pay them on behalf of their utopian goals?

sDs61678 on April 21, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Liberals raise my blood pressure a lot more than salt does.

Unfortunately, salt has become part of the diet religion wars, and people are lining up in their invincible bubbles of doctrine.

Merovign on April 21, 2010 at 9:28 PM

They can have my salt shaker if they make it through the hail of bullets.

This will cause a run on salt like the election of Obama caused a run on arms and ammo.


woodcdi on April 21, 2010 at 9:46 PM

Won’t this be rather expensive if all the food processing companies and all restaurants have to come up with new recipies and food processing protocols?

Could food prices go up?


Dhuka on April 21, 2010 at 10:03 PM