Better Health Through Government Overreach!

By Gil Ross — Feb 25, 2016
Two unnecessary instances of how government is trying to tell the public what they should, should not, and must do, to keep healthy: (1) mandatory GMO labeling is the way to go, and (2) too much salt, is, well, too much, and some restaurants must warn patrons of that.

Salt Warning!Under the heading of governmental overreach, two new doozies caught my attention:

1. In the Big Apple, a New York State Supreme Court Judge Eileen Rakower upheld the Mayors Bloomberg-DeBlasio mandate to place "Danger: Lots Of Salt!" warnings on certain restaurants' food offerings containing what the regulatory overseers deem dangerous to our health. Meaning, over 2,300 mg of sodium, which authorities including the American Heart Association and the CDC assert is the upper limit of safe daily intake for the essential mineral.

2. In the so-called "paper of record," The New York Times editorial staff has decided that its ongoing endorsement of "endocrine disruptors" and "toxic chemicals" does not go far enough in its denial of science. They have taken up the brief about frankenfoods, lending science-deniers everywhere safe haven by calling upon Congress to refuse to approve the measure wending its way through the deliberative process, to ban the state-by-state GMO warning label efforts.

The editors do this by asserting that, "There is no harm in providing consumers more information about their food," in the editorial, "A Bad Effort in Congress to Thwart States on Food Labels." Naturally, since the editors can cite no science to support the benefits to anyone of such labeling, their main theme is the Evil Republicans' agenda: "The only thing these lawmakers seem to favor consistently is protecting corporate interests." In other words, those who oppose the nonsensical, expensive and moronic mandate to label GMO-containing foods are in the pocket of "Big Biotech," or some such.

Editors, listen to your long-term, greatly respected health reporter, Jane E. Brody, specifically from her article published last June: "Fears, Not Facts, Support GMO-Free Food."

Studies clearly show that such labeling campaigns are underwritten by Big Organic, and are designed to scare consumers away from purchasing safe, cheaper food which has GMO ingredients. They can always seek out GMO-free/"organic" products if they want to, or (way better IMHO) let the folks who market GMO-free food label their stuff, without any governmental mandates involved! (If this doesn't ring a bell, perhaps the editors should consider listening to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who is calling for Congress to pass the bill requiring a uniform approach to GMO foods).

As for that sodium/salt mandate, the pros and cons of mandatory labeling on that topic are also suspect, not only from a governmental overreach position, but more importantly from a public health point of view. There are many who advocate, based on solid studies, that humankind is hardwired to ingest 3,500-4,500 mg of sodium daily, not the overly stringent requirements being promulgated by the AHA et al. In fact, many experts believe that too low a sodium diet may well cause more health problems than too much. But such nuances are swept aside when the NYC Board of Health and the Mayor get involved.

Note: ACSH's own publication -- "Salt" -- will appear soon, so watch for it.

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