In a September 15 “Request for Comments, Data, and Information” (PDF) published in the Federal Register, the FDA solicits from the public “comments, data, and evidence relevant to the dietary intake of sodium as well as current and emerging approaches designed to promote sodium reduction.” Among the specific ideas it has in mind: setting federally prescribed “targets” for “stepwise” reductions in the amount of salt allowable in various foods, the phased nature of the reductions indicated because consumers’ “taste preference for sodium is acquired and can be modified.”Like the mythic case against saturated fat, the case against salt is very weak and heavily politicized. I'm a big fan of salt myself, but I think it's important to shell out the extra baksheesh for grey sea salt with the trace minerals.
Various government programs (notably in Mayor Bloomberg’s New York City) already arm-twist producers into supposedly voluntary reductions, but the FDA notice hints broadly that voluntary measures will not suffice. Its public comment period ends next Tuesday, November 29; let’s hope the agency gets an earful from citizens about the importance of freedom and consumer choice.
The war on drugs is working out so well, why not extend it to one of the most common and biologically important substances on the planet? When the prisons are full, offenders could be sent to the salt mines, ha!