"Our Country!
In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right;
but right or wrong, our country!"

    --Commodore Stephen Decatur

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Salt in the Wound

The Washington Post reports today on the latest example of the Obama Adminstration using a faceless and unaccountable bureaucracy to implement drastic changes that will affect the daily lives of all Americans.  In this newest instance of government mischief, unelected regulators will be deciding how much salt is allowed in the food we eat--all in the name of public health.
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 Post goes on to report that President Obama's minions at the FDA "do not think they need additional authority from Congress" to implement this technocratic scheme.  This is a frightening assertion.  If bureaucrats believe they have the authority to decree limits on salt without any direction from Congress, what is to stop them from banning unhealthy foods outright?

Salt has been used as a preservative since ancient times to prevent meat from rotting.  Even today, common foods such as ham, bacon, salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, chorizo, sauerkraut, pickles, and beef jerky all require massive quantities of salt during the curing process.  Salt is also a key ingredient in cheese making, also as a preservative.  Presumably the FDA will allow an exemption in such cases, but why should we have to rely on the benevolence of a nameless committee to set limits on its own unchecked and unlimited power?

Moreover, because salt is a preservative, setting limits on the amount of salt in canned vegetables, sauces, and other processed foods, will either increase the likelihood of food contamination and spoilage or will force food manufacturers to rely more and more on a chemical soup of artificial preservatives.  The FDA claims that these regulations are in the public interest, but the unintended consequences of limiting salt in food could be far more disastrous than the supposed health problems associated with high salt intake.

No comments:

Post a Comment