Will the FDA get into the salt-reduction business?

If the Food and Drug Administration continues down its current path, it could begin ordering mandatory salt reductions in processed and restaurant foods ranging from pretzels to cold cuts to take-out chicken nuggets. As I explain at Cato at Liberty, time is running out for public comment on the FDA’s plans to enter the field. Earlier here, etc.


  • The entire premise of the FDA’s theory seems to be that the public cannot be trusted to eat what it wants. If the public cannot be trusted to eat what it wants, then that public’s comments won’t be trusted either.

    Therefore, I do not see how public comments could alter the FDA’s decision. By definition, if it listened to the public, it would listen to the public.

  • Cutting salt for everyone may actually harm and the small number of people who might benefit from a low sodium diet should have been told by a doctor to go for the low sodium diet. The rest of us should be able to do as we please. Salt does so much more than make food taste better.

  • A salt limit is not just a matter of personal preference. A reasonable society would delegate authority to expert panels to make decisions for us regarding the safety of foods and drugs. In most cases, having expertise is hard work. Salt limitations are , in my opinion, would not be a matter of civil liberty if extant salt was inherently dangerous at the levels now in our food.

    The trouble with the instant situation is that anti-salt activists probably (close to 1) misstated the evidence. The arguments for harm from salt at current levels are strained at best; closer to a lie than a disagreement.

    Society has an obligation to monitor experts too. Our current society (it is more than government alone) failed miserably with salt, lead, asbestos, Toyota cars, etc. The one that drives me up the wall is the banning of bicycles because of brass in their air-valves.