Assaulting Salt

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The Washington Post reports that the Food and Drug Administration is planning an "unprecedented effort" to reduce Americans' salt intake by mandating that food manufacturers use less sodium. The FDA claims it needs no additional authority from Congress to gradually "phase-down" sodium levels in nearly every type of processed food.

"We've said it before: Hypertension has to be diagnosed and treated aggressively, but targeting salt is not the answer," says Dr. Ross. "In fact, it has been shown that some people respond to a low salt diet in the opposite way than most, with unintended consequences, and only a minority of hypertensives lower their blood pressure with reduced salt intake. The federal government has decided it is going to be judge, jury and executioner when it comes to how much salt we should be eating. They established the guidelines -- now they say we are not following them closely enough, and something must be done!"

"Obviously, food processors use salt for a reason, either for a functional reason or to make a food more palatable," says Dr. Whelan. "If they take it out, it will result in a product consumers do not want."

"In fact," adds ACSH's Jeff Stier, "There are myriad low-salt options on the market for consumers who want them. This new initiative comes on the heels of an effort to get manufacturers to 'voluntarily' reduce sodium levels, which they are doing, gradually. But the people who were nanny-state activists are now running portions of the government -- and you can count on us at ACSH to work hard to hold them in check."