FDA begins laying groundwork for mandatory salt reduction in food

With a “Request for Comments, Data, and Information” (PDF), the Food and Drug Administration has begun laying the groundwork for mandatory sodium reductions in food processing. Caleb Brown interviewed me for a Cato podcast on the subject. For more on the furor over H.J. Heinz’s unpopular reformulation of HP Sauce at the suggestion of the British government, see Telegraph and Daily Mail accounts.


  • When they outlaw salt, only outlaws will have salt.

    Salt is greatly overblown as a health concern, too. I’ve seen little evidence that the FDA’s specific guidance on salt is anything other than picked out of the air, and it’s nanny-state do-goodism even if taken in the best possible light.

  • For Halloween this year I have a Heinz Ketchup Bottle costume, I will be scarier than I thought.

  • L Nettles: I’ll one-up you for Halloween! I’m going as a Salt Lick. I’m thinking of visiting the Occupy Wall Street Halloween Party, too, right in the heart of nannydom.

  • Okay, Walter, now I am convinced that a successful career in punditry is yours for the taking. That silky, strong voice! Your non-threatening looks! That unplaceable accent! Need an agent/manager? Seriously, you got what it takes, keep putting yourself out there.

    As for the issue at hand, no one seemed to mention the big problem of salt being incredibly easy for anyone to acquire for easy consumption. If it’s already a clichéd reaction that most folks, when their food isn’t just right, state it ‘needs a little salt,’ wouldn’t that relegate this to a study in futility? Lowering the fat content in pre-processed foodstuffs makes much more sense in this regard. Who keeps fat in their cabinets?

  • Lowering the fat content in pre-processed foodstuffs makes much more sense in this regard. Who keeps fat in their cabinets?

    Jay Markowitz, clearly you are not a Jewish grandmother from the old country. Schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) was a staple in Jewish homes for use in frying foods or to spread on your rye bread. Given you name it would appear that you should have known this! 🙂

    Also with respect to salt being harmful, a new study published May 4 suggests that low-salt diets don’t prevent high blood pressure but actually increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes. In other words not only is the effort to control your diet by the government nanny statism but it is potentially harmful.

    Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Belgian study enlisted 3,681 European men and women for an eight-year evaluation of salt’s effect on their cardiovascular health. Subjects with the lowest sodium excretion (which is a good measure of sodium intake) were 56 percent more likely to have died from cardiovascular disease than those with the highest sodium excretion. Also, researchers found that sodium intake had no effect on whether or not the subjects developed high blood pressure.


  • Who keeps fat in their cabinets?

    Me. If you include the fridge.

    Bacon Fat, Crisco and Clarified Butter to name a few.

  • Who keeps fat in their cabinets?

    Um, everyone. Especially if you include the refrigerator. Butter, lard, and every type of oil – olive oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, etc. – are all fats.

  • The Salt Institute has a facebook page Salt Health where people can take action against the FDA regulation of salt in just five minutes:

    We also have recently sent a letter to HHS and USDA challenging the legality of the Dietary Guidelines on sodium:

  • First they came for the salt, but since my doctor warned me against HBP, I don’t use salt, so I remained silent.

    Next they came for the sugar, but since I drink my tea unsweetened, the way God intended, I don’t use sugar, so I remained silent.

    Then they came for the ketchup, but since I make my own Roux, I don’t use ketchup, and so I remained silent.

    When they came for the Zatarain’s, and I looked around and told my friends that “FDA agents are out of season; the limit is two; and they make a tasty gumbo.” Problem solved.

  • I just finished watching a few episodes of the “Barefoot Contessa” on the Food Channel, and noted that she seems to be quite liberal in her use of salt, “to give it some flavor”, just like Julia Child used to “just add some butter and cream to make it taste good”. I wonder when these shows will start to be censored, like the smokers airbrushed out of historic photos…

    “Who controls the present, controls the past. Who controls the past, controls the future…”

  • “Who keeps fat in their closets?”

    Everyone who has a jar of peanut butter, or olive oil, or vegatable oil, or bakers who use shortening. Some of us even render our own ducks to generate fat to use to store our duck parts in over the year, and then crisp them up in the pan, or just use the fat to fry potatoes. Goose fat is the absolute best for this…

  • Mmmmm……bacon fat. Saved in a jar after frying up a quarter pound of thick cut smoked bacon.

    A couple spoon fulls fresh from the bacon fry pan to scramble some eggs in equals yummy (oh, and the eggs were scrambled with a splash of half and half, or heavy cream, if I have it, 2% if I don’t have the high fat versions).

    One can’t make biscuits without a fat to make the flour “short” as Fannie Farmer said. Butter is my choice, although I also keep vegetable shortening in the cabinet as a back up.

    ‘Tis funny how many in this country screech “stay out of my bedroom” yet the very same people often times are happy to prance into their neighbors kitchen and tell them what they can and can’t do there.