Government Sets New Recommended Salt Levels for Foods – ABC News [+1]
The guidelines place foods in 150 categories, outlining new target sodium reductions in everything from bacon and fries to pasta sauces, soups and salads with toppings. For instance, breakfast bakery products would have to reduce sodium by 65 percent and frozen soups by 42 percent over 10 years.
According to the HHS, 75 percent of sodium intake comes from processed and prepared foods, not the salt shaker, and 50 percent of every dollar spent on food is consumed outside the home.
“What we are doing is creating a situation where the consumer is in control,” Burwell said. “If that consumer wants to add more sodium, they are going to be able to do it. What the consumer can’t do now is take it out of the product and have real knowledge about it.”
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, which sued the federal government when it failed to respond to a petition seeking more regulation of salt, applauded today’s move.
From: Government Sets New Recommended Salt Levels for Foods – ABC News
A large worldwide study has found that, contrary to popular thought, low-salt diets may not be beneficial and may actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death compared to average salt consumption.
In fact, the study suggests that the only people who need to worry about reducing sodium in their diet are those with hypertension (high blood pressure) and have high salt consumption.
The study, involving more than 130,000 people from 49 countries, was led by investigators of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.
They looked specifically at whether the relationship between sodium (salt) intake and death, heart disease and stroke differs in people with high blood pressure compared to those with normal blood pressure.
From: Low-salt diets may not be beneficial for all, study suggests: Salt reduction only important in some people with high blood pressure — ScienceDaily
Look, I had a relative who was very close to me die of a heart attack. I don’t want anyone to ever have to go through what I went through.Report
Yeah. We’ll appreciate it when the regulations aren’t likely to send loved ones into heart attacks. **Report
God forbid you just require labels/info on the menus and let the buyer decide. Can’t have that. You WILL comply to our view of how you should live your life.Report
The hipsters and yuppies want to impose their tastes on everyone. These people are biggest threat this country faces they need to be taken down a few notches. Whenever I complain about them here people get really upset and almost always try to call me a racist when I have not once said anything racist, they think people can’t hat hipsters that much so it must racist that’s motivating people, it’s because of regulation like this that people are voting for Trump.Report
While I share you distaste for Hipsters, and regrettably was a semi yuppie once, they aren’t the only people, assuming they are in fact in favor of this.
No it’s all the liberals who want to tell me what i can and can’t eat, for example, and the conservos who want to tell me who I can’t wed or what drug I can’t use. All for our own good.
People call you a racist for liking salt on your food?
Where the fish do you live?Report
We tried letting the buyers decide, but they weren’t very good at it. We need to make sure they make the right decision.Report
Yes, if only Big Food hadn’t got people addicted to salt and sugar and fat, they’d prefer healthy, nutritious, natural foods.Report
I am waiting with bated breath to see if we’re going to get the long-awaited return of MSG…Report
I don’t think there’s ever been any consensus that it’s actually a problem.Report
It’s not about public health it’s part of the yuppie and hipster war of working class whites.Report
If some gov’t bureaucrat thinks there is an issue who are you to say otherwise?Report
There is a pretty clear consensus actually. The one area of disagreement is how much lower than current consumption should it be.Report
For glutamate, or just the sodium component?Report
I’m certainly open to the possibility that I’m wrong, but my impression is that it’s always been an alternative medicine thing, and a quick scan of PubMed results doesn’t do much to disabuse me of the notion.Report
a few people are allergic to it, but msg is natural in mushrooms and tomatoes.Report
And none of that matters.
Eating 20 pounds of butter a day is bad for you, there is a consensus. Totally irrelevant to whether or not the gov’t should be mandating food manufacturers remove butter from their recipes because it’s good for the public.Report
A friend of mine saw someone faint dead away from MSG.
Of course, this was after consuming an entire teaspoon at once.
… so maybe don’t do that.Report
If the yuppie foodies are going to tell what food I can and can’t eat them i’m going make them blow a gasket by supporting abortion bans. If they want to tell me what I can do with my body then I’m going to tell them what they can do with theirs. This is what I mean when I say high SES liberals have too much power and need to be dealt with harshly. I’ll vote for a racist before I vote for a snob if I’m forced to chose between someone who hates me and someone who hates someone else I’ll vote for someone who hates someone else.Report
So, because government might demand there be a label that warns against sodium, you will be forced to…hate on black people?Report
As I predicted someone would claim that I’m a racist because of my opposition to snobbery. It’s more than a label on a product, there will be changes in how much slat is allowed in food. And it’s more than just the salt ban it’s lots of other things.Report
Where did @chip-daniels call you a racist? I certainly didn’t read that in his comment.Report
I flat out just don’t get how you jump from being angry at your injustice, to being willing to inflict injustice on others.
“If you enact Right To Work laws, I will vote for someone who wants to ban plastic bags!”Report
I flat out just don’t get how you jump from being angry at your injustice, to being willing to inflict injustice on others.
You wouldn’t believe what people are like.
This is why I try to stay on the internet.Report
If cops keep killing people who look like me, I’m going to focus on that!Report
A more charitable—really, more fair than charitable—reading of Dand’s comment would be that he thinks the racist is the lesser of two evils. “I’ll do X before I do Y,” as an expression of opposition to Y, generally carries an implied, “If those are my only two options.”Report
God, that’s the most charitable reading??
Dand should sue you for slander in that case.
Option 1: Not getting enough salt in my Cheetohs;
Option 2: Oppression of an entire race of people.
Yeah, Option 2 sounds like the lesser evil.Report
At the 1948 republican convention two of candidates were Earl Warren and Robert Taft. Warren was the leading advocate for Japanese internment while Taft was one of the leading opponents. Were the people who voted for Warren rather Taft racist? Were they doing anything wrong because they considered issues other than Japanese internment when casting their votes?Report
I’m not grasping the point here.
Is the argument “I disagree with Taft on [Issue X], therefore I will vote for the guy who wanted to imprison American citizens in camps because Issue X is so much more important to me”?Report
Do you believe that the people who voted for Earl Warren rather than Taft were doing something wrong? Were they guilty of racism or being soft on racism?Report
To put it another way was it wrong for labor unions to support William Pickrel in his race against Taft in 1944? Pickrel was better on labor issues than Taft; was it wrong for the unions to care more about labor issues than race?Report
Yes, don’t you think so?
Which candidate would have caused more pain and human suffering, Pickrel or Taft?Report
The government is not staffed by yuppies or hipsters. It is, however, staffed by over-educated old urban professionals such as myself (oopsies?).
If you’re going to rage against the machine, please don’t blame bearded home-brewers from Oregon. Blame Harvard Business / Law / Medical School graduates.Report
aren’t most of those people yuppies. I use that terminology because if I don’t people will accuse me attacking liberals as if I’m opposed to the IBEW.Report
/when I posted about the CSPI going after salt last year people on this site brushed it off and told me I was making a mountain out of a molehill.Report
I guess you don’t see any sunshine at all between “these foods are correlated with the substantial amount of sodium folks intake, and folks intake too much sodium, so we are changing the guidelines for acceptable amounts of sodium to come with this food product out of the package, but you can still add all the salt you want” and “banning salt”.Report
Yes, I understand that this is one step from the Gulag.
But, honestly, if you want more salt, you can always add it. If you want less salt, there’s not much you can do. (Even “reduced salt” canned soup is loaded with it.) So having less salt in processed food is a win with no downside.Report
The health benefits for most people of such a reduction are being actively debated as we speak. Salt is a good and affordable preservative. I don’t even add salt to stuff, but they use it for a reason. The thing they replace it with may not be much better. Could be worse. (I have no problem with MSG, but a lot of people do.)Report
Yes and no. Salt for curing bacon is an essential step and leaves a lot of residual salt. Salt in your chicken stock is not a preservative.
More importantly salt in your salisbury steak is combined with sugar to trick you into thinking it tastes good so that you 1) eat it, 2) buy it again. Removing salt (and sugar) from processed foods is honestly the end of (the vast majority of) processed foods. For that reason, this will never go anywhere, of that I’m positive. Or, as you say, whatever they replace it with to keep the food palatable might be worse. This is one of those things where the different US Fed depts aren’t talking to each other about what the core conflicts are.Report
Removing salt (and sugar) from processed foods is honestly the end of (the vast majority of) processed foods.
If only there were a way for the consumer of the food to add salt to his own taste.Report
“salt in your salisbury steak is combined with sugar to trick you into thinking it tastes good…”
It, ah, doesn’t trick you into thinking it tastes good. It makes it taste good.Report
Nothing can make Salisbury steak taste good. It’s just tarted up meatloaf.Report
I thought it was mostly just a burger without a bun.
But this has gotten off track a bit, because burgers and meatloaf are both yummy.Report
That was my impression too. There are a million yummy things you can put in meatloaf, so Salisbury Steak is meatloaf tarted down.Report
Salt is not needed as a preservative in frozen food, yet that’s loaded with it too. (Is MSG a preservative? I thought it was added purely for taste. which is also the case for salt, at least at the levels at which it’s often used.)Report
“Nobody is suggesting this sort of thing. Don’t be paranoid.”
“Would it really be so bad if someone suggested this sort of thing?”
“This sort of thing would be so much better than the way it’s being done now.”
“Oh, doing this sort of thing is exactly like the gulag. You poor kulak.”Report
Jaybird you’re engaging in slippery-slope reasoning. Nobody in a position of authority would ever seriously suggest that it be made illegal to sell soda in bottles larger than a certain size.Report
That’s a strawman! That only happened once! Nobody wants that sort of thing to go through! Besides, it was overturned!Report
No one did. Look it up.Report
I am so looking forward to your explanation of how this is being taken out of context and misinterpreted according to an ideological epistemic-closure bias.
(I’m fully expecting “well that’s about CUPS and you said BOTTLES, you are CLEARLY WRONG ABOUT THIS, why should ANYONE EVER LISTEN TO YOU”)Report
You could have just said “Yeah, I meant to write cups”, but then you couldn’t get all indignant. I guess that’s what happens when you only have one shtick.Report
I wrote what I meant to write, actually. You’re the one who thinks he’s found the 100% Unblockable Argument Combo that just utterly destroyed me.Report
You meant to write something that wasn’t true? Good to know.Report
It’s so cute how you think you’re winning this.Report
See, one shtick.Report
All you actually have got here is “well you said BOTTLES and it was about CUPS”. Seriously, you’re not even disagreeing with me about it!Report
The difference actually matters to the intent of the law, and, even if you disagree with it, it had one.Report
How am I supposed to add salt to the bag of potato chips a bought at Walgreens? Do I need to carry a salt shaker with me all day? If you want to be snob fine just don’t call people who oppose your snobbery racist. Yuppie liberals love to call people racist in order to distract from their snobbery. Yuppies declare war on the working class then call the working class racist when they fight back.Report
Black people have much higher rates of hypertension than white people, so opposing government dictation of salt content in food is super racist. It’s like slavery, but worse, because you’re killing them.Report
I’m having flashbacks of ShazbotReport
If white people were treated by society the way that black people were treated by society, white people would have similar rates of hypertension. (Assuming, of course, race is a social rather than biological construct.)
If, by telling white people, “sorry, you can’t buy the good frozen pizzas anymore until racism is gone”, we might finally have stumbled across something that might actually result in the system changing.Report
Comparing things to racism to explain why you’re in favor of them is hilarious.Report
That’s it. I give up on reductio ad absurdum.Report
Don’t give up. Just practice harder.Report
It’s what I do when I buy costco chips, yes.
Pissed as HELL that they’re stealing salt from my beef jerky though. Salt shakers are hell to carry around on a trail.Report
How am I supposed to add salt to the bag of potato chips a bought at Walgreens? Do I need to carry a salt shaker with me all day?
You could do that. It wouldn’t even be particularly difficult.
And, honestly, I didn’t know that yuppies, hipsters, SJWs, and snobs like salt less than Real Working Class Americans do.Report
You’re seeing people enforcing their own dietary restrictions on everyone else, to the manifest detriment of other people ** They’re not doing this “because they don’t like it” – they’re doing this because it’s necessary for their health.
**Including people I care deeply about.Report
The upper classes tend to disfavor high-salt foods because they are most common in processed and preserved foods. It’s not that they put less salt on their potatoes, but they aren’t the prime market for frozen pizza, canned ravioli, etc.Report
The middle-upper classes disfavor highsalt foods because they live under stress, which causes hypertension in many of them.Report
While living with inadequate means and the constant threat of layoffs is stress-free.Report
Perhaps we should do a better job of teaching the lower classes to cook for themselves?
I have a lovely recipe for arugula smoothies that really helps me get through a bi-monthly cleanse.Report
Hipsters eat canned ravioli. They just do it ironically.Report
“How am I supposed to add salt to the bag of potato chips a bought at Walgreens? Do I need to carry a salt shaker with me all day?”
“You could do that. It wouldn’t even be particularly difficult. ”
It is so utterly precious that you think this is a reasonable response.Report
“do it or die” tends to make people reconsider what a reasonable response is.Report
It’s pretty outrageous that McDonalds makes you put ketchup on the fries yourself, especially when they’re already so helpful about pre-salting them.Report
“McDonalds put more salt on my fries than I prefer.”
Go somewhere else then. Hello, it’s called the free market. D’uh.
“McDonalds doesn’t put as much salt on as I prefer.”
F**king precious assholes. How dare they? Not as much salt as you prefer on your fries is an attack on our most basic freedoms.Report
As an aside, unsalted fries are available at McDonald’s upon request.
A lifehack is that if you want fresh fries, you can ask for unsalted fries. They’ll make some special for you, and then if you want you bring your own salt and add it. Or alternately, you can even ask McDonald’s for some salt, and they’ll give it to you.Report
To keep with the aside, I’ve noticed that different McDonalds in different regains salt their fries very differently, I assume in a way that correlates to how much salt other local restaurants in those regions salt things.
If I go to a McDonalds in a really upscale suburban area, for example, the salt is usually really light light. If I go to a McDonalds in a real rural part of my state, I have found there’s so much salt that I can’t really eat them.Report
How often are you going to McDonalds, @tod-kelly ? You know if it is more than once a month you lose you writing privileges here, right?Report
It’s all McDonald’s. Except maybe OT.Report
Oh no, it’s a zero-tolerance policy. It’s worse than violating the commenting policy.Report
As another aside, McDonalds puts less salt on their fries than they used to, and now they taste terrible without adding salt. So I order one packet of salt when I order fries.
This is tyranny, I tell you.Report
they taste terrible without adding salt
This is, by the way, a hint that they’re genuinely worse than fries that taste good with that same amount of salt.Report
I will readily admit that McDonald’s is garbage dressed up with food chemistry to appeal to very base impulses.
I’m old enough now that I’m not fooled by the shenanigans.Report
Base instincts, as in you’d be exercising more advanced instincts hoping that the Warriors would put Ian Clark into the game to show Steven Adams what a real nut-kicking feels like.Report
I can’t speak for DD, but there’s a more nuanced way to frame the second scneario:
“McDonald’s is not allowed to put as much salt on as it feels necessary to attract new customers.”
I’d agree that any response to that scenario which warns against violations of basic freedoms is misguided. I also agree that if we’re talking only about recommendations, then even my revised framing is off. Still….if we are talking about more than just recommendations, then it’s not totally whack to discuss the merits and demerits of compelling McDonalds to modify its salt intake. (And for the record, I have less problem, but not no problem, regulating McDonald’s use of salt than my comment might suggest. I’m just positing a way of looking at this issue that in my mind is fairer to the critics than your framing seems to be in this one instance.)Report
I, ah, didn’t say that latter thing.
I did suggest that “just carry a shaker of salt bro it’s not that big a deal” is kind of a glib response to “I’m concerned about the idea that the government is going to define what I may and may not put into my body”.Report
Oh, got it. Yeah, that would be pretty bad.
Also, if they said “Why don’t you eat the chips with your butt!”
Or if they said “Well your mama liked it when I ‘salted’ her last night!”
Or if they said “You are very unattractive, and you smell like pooh.”
So, yeah. Good point.Report
A friend and I used to go canoeing , and after having worked up an appetite, we’d go to the Foster’s Freeze for milkshakes. One afternoon, we were both craving chocolate peanut butter shakes, but the guy at the counter said they didn’t have any peanut better, so we went next door to the grocery store, bought a jar, and said “Please mix this into our shakes.”
Naah, I’m kidding. That would have been insane. Actually, we came back after dark and burned the place to the ground, just like you would have.Report
That is your best response to the lastest nanny state over reach?Report
I’d also support a “Less salt in processed food” wing at the Holocaust museum.Report
I suggest a letter writing campaign to Amnesty International.
Or Penthouse Forum.
Could go either way.Report
With a world premiere screening of Schindler’s Grocery ListReport
There is seemingly nothing, nothing that the government can do to help improve public health or public everything without a bunch of people getting their underwear in a bunch about becoming tyranny.
A recommendation is not a mandate. Mike points out that it is very easy to add salt if you want it. Others have pointed out that salt is no longer the preservative it once was in many situations. Yet just releasing a few recommendations on “Hey, maybe your products can contain a bit less salt” has people screeching bloody murder and resentment. Does anyone have a sense of prospective in this country?Report
Not a mandate? From the article which you clearly didn’t read. “The guidelines place foods in 150 categories, outlining new target sodium reductions in everything from bacon and fries to pasta sauces, soups and salads with toppings. For instance, breakfast bakery products would have to reduce sodium by 65 percent and frozen soups by 42 percent over 10 years.” So these are in fact gov’t mandates that food processors will have to meet.Report
“Would have to” could mean “Would have to in order to meet the recommended standard, which they are not legally required to do.”Report
Right. As it stands it’s a recommendation. But the CSPI is pretty explicit about the nature of the slope:
DID YOU KNOW…that food companies are putting twice the legal limit of harmful chemicals into your children’s food? Big Agriculture quietly had some provisions added to the bill that lets them “grandfather” existing recipes in. END CAPITALISM. NOW.Report
We should create a little seal of some sort that dishes that meet spec are allowed to put onto their packaging.
“SALTER HALTER! This food product meets the FDA recommendation for daily sodium intake*”
*and not some bs ‘if this is the only thing you eat today’ meeting the recommendation but a serious this doesn’t hit 25.1% of your daily recommendation allowing you to eat three of them today and still allow you enough sodium room to have a fourth.
We can say that they can put it in the bottom right quadrant of the packaging.
If that’s too clunky, we can throw some money at the Ad Council and they can put something together.Report
This article says it is voluntary at this time. So your interpretation looks correct.
“This is a recommendation that, should you fail to meet it, will result in regulation” is not really just a recommendation.
People adding their own salt could result in people adding more than what was in there to begin with.
Replacement ingredients may be worse than the original ingredient.
There is a lot of recent research suggesting that the salt threat has been overstated.Report
“Replacement ingredients may be worse than the original ingredient.”
This. You know what happens to a food product with gluten in it when that’s removed? It’s replaced with other things. Calories go up, sugar goes up, lots of other bad stuff is added.Report
I truly don’t understand why those “allergic” (yes, I know, wrong term) to gluten don’t just eat things without gluten.
You know, like rice. It’s not all that hard, and is cheaper than “bread without gluten”Report
My stepmother, who was diagnosed with Celiac’s LOVED pasta, beer, and bread. None of which should could eat when diagnosed. It’s also hard to have rice for breakfast when you’re used to toast. Also, back in the day it meant specificity food stores, much higher prices and eating nothing but rice, and potatoes. She did it but she now is able to enjoy toast as well. Let me tell you, from living with her while she dealt with this, it’s amazing how much gluten is in stuff. I’d come home on a weekly basis and find food gone as it was discovered that gluten was in something from the previous week….Buying grocers was a 100% chore, having to read each and every single label.Report
There was a comic who talked about a gluten free diet, and realizing that everything he liked had gluten in it. He claimed he didn’t know what gluten was, but it was apparently delicious.
Honestly, I think a pure vegetarian diet is probably easier to manage than a gluten-free one. Maybe not so much since gluten-free became a fad.Report
IIRC, the use of trans fats increased in response to the CSPI’s campaign against the use of saturated oils by fast food restaurants and processed food manufacturers.Report
Unintended consequences bite again. You’d think folks’d learn.Report
I don’t know why you keep hammering on the unintended consequences without focusing on the intentions of the people who instituted the policy in the first place.Report
That was covered in my original post.Report
You know what happens to a food product with gluten in it when that’s removed?
It tastes like regurgitated cardboard?Report
It tastes like regurgitated cardboard?
Loads of salt can help with that.Report
But only if you carry a salt shaker with you so you can season to taste.Report
That was legitimately hilarious.Report
It USED to. Back when my stepmother was diagnosed with Celiac’s it did. But manufactures have actually gotten the food to taste pretty good in the last 20 years and she can finally eat pasta and bread again. Manufactures still offset the gluten with other things, making the calories higher and it containing more sugar and maybe salt to compensate taste-wise.Report
and yet somehow this happened without a massive government initiative to eliminate gluten from everything.Report
“Massive!” “Eliminate!” “Everything!”Report
I know! wow.
Of course those manuf were responding to the crazy trend of anti gluten to folks who think food is more healthy without it. Suure.Report
If the regulation goes through, would it mean that I cannot monetise my mother’s pizza recipe if it hapenned to contain more than the recommended level of salt?
Edit: Dammit. this wasn’t meant to go here.Report
I concur on the science but still find the reaction here to be way over the top.Report
Will you also now concur that this is a mandate?Report
Part of having a sense of perspective includes looking into how much regulatory force a “recommendation” has. If it’s only a recommendation, then it’s just a recommendation. If it’s a recommendation and issuing recommendations is the first step in an established process to creating mandates (as in, new regulations are generally issued on the basis of new recommendations), or if the consequences for not heeding a recommendation are something like “can be sued more easily” or “can be fined,” then it’s less benign.
I didn’t read the linked-to articles and don’t generally keep up to date on this issue, so maybe the recommendation is just a recommendation. Calling the new recommendations potentially worrisome is not by itself an example of someone warning against creeping tyranny or screaming bloody murder and resentment. At the same time and in my opinion, it’s not really the end of the world if the government were to regulate the salt content in processed foods even though I’d prefer something more along the lines of notifying people so they can make their own decisions. And if that’s all the recommendations are intended for, I don’t have a problem with them.Report
Note that we already have this, in the form of nutrition labels. Even most chain restaurants offer this, either as flyers at the restaurant, or on their web sites.Report
True, and if all that’s at stake is whether what the labels used to say “exceeds RDA by 10%” now say “exceeds RDA by 20%,” I don’t have that much of a problem with them. But if they’re a precursor to more regulation, or different regulations, I think it’s something that needs to be at least discussed. (tl;dr: I think you and I mostly agree here.)Report
If it’s a recommendation and issuing recommendations is the first step in an established process to creating mandates (as in, new regulations are generally issued on the basis of new recommendations), or if the consequences for not heeding a recommendation are something like “can be sued more easily” or “can be fined,” then it’s less benign.
Okay, systems boundary argument time!
No, it’s still just a recommendation.
If the CSPI decides to take it farther, that’s on the CSPI, not the FDA. If the argument here is that the CSPI is misrepresenting things, then that’s a fine argument to have. If the argument here is that the government is misrepresenting things, that’s also a fine argument to have, but it’s a different argument to have.
I am reminded of the GMO labeling threads… oh, last year or whenever it was that we were arguing about it. Tod’s position, if I may paraphrase, was that “it’s perfectly reasonable for folks to demand provenance labeling on their food, regardless of why they want it or what the outcome is when you provide it”.
I more or less agree with that. I think GMO food fright is downright idiotic, but I think willfully allowing and encouraging information asymmetry is stupid.
If GMOs are healthy or not, make that case. You should be able to make it, in the marketplace of ideas. If you are afraid of making that case and you make it so that you don’t have to label your product, you are basically asking the government to defray the cost of your advertising battle with organic foodmakers by making it so that you can compete with them on price, rather than on everything else.
I don’t see labeling, or guidelines, as inherently governmental overreach. I see it as market manipulation, and it’s almost always coming from the folks who want to have an edge competing with other folks, and they want the government to assist in that.
And that’s true whether or not they’re arguing *for* the label or *against* it.
I’m for less information asymmetry. I think it leads to healthier markets, not more unhealthy ones.Report
Well, if we’re talking about an established process, as in if the government wishes to expand the regulations and if to do so it must first secure newer recommendations, then newer recommendations could lead to more or revised regulations. There’s a lot of if’s and one “could” in there, and I don’t know how it works as well as you seem to.
So, you’re probably right on the merits.Report
“There is seemingly nothing, nothing that the government can do to help improve public health or public everything without a bunch of people getting their underwear in a bunch about becoming tyranny.”
Yeah, it’s like when they say “we’re keeping records of who calls international numbers, which numbers they called, and how long the call lasted”, and everyone gets all woogity about surveillance states.Report
No, it’s not like that.
At this point there is no evidence that the government has ever extraordinarily renditioned a small packed food producer and waterboarded them because they went over a sodium recommendation.
That makes this not like that. Maybe in thirty years they will be comparable that way (TRUMP 2016!)Report
“At this point there is no evidence that the government has ever extraordinarily renditioned a small packed food producer and waterboarded them because they went over a sodium recommendation.”
No, but they sure are willing to put the hammer down when they think it’s warranted.
I’d be more on board with peoples’ contention that this would never actually happen if it didn’t, y’know, actually happen.Report
Graveyards are full of people who died of listeriosis. If you read the link, you’ll find out that California does allow the sale of raw milk, but in a highly-regulated manner. Since listeriosis is a real killer, that seems the right course of action to me.Report
Granted, I think the raw food silliness is silliness and if someone actively wants to engage in eating food that is produced in medically demonstrably more dangerous methods because they have a different risk analysis than I do, eh. As long as everything is packaged and labeled that’s okay with me; “If you eat this you can die” or something analogous is sufficiently robust for me. So I can see the point that there are areas of the regulatory state that are far too overwrought.
But that’s still not this, and it’s still quite a ways down the road from this, even on a slippier slope than the slope I expect we’re actually on, past a couple of pretty obvious signposts.Report
“Graveyards are full of people who died of listeriosis.”
Yeah and oh hey what’s this:
It’s not like these people were getting duped by Big Agriculture into unknowingly buying unsafe food.
AND AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT POSTER WHO IS NOT FRANCIS, BUT IS IN FACT PATRICK, SAID THIS, AND I’M INCLUDING THIS BREAKOUT BECAUSE PEOPLE GET SUPER SALTY WHEN THEY SEE QUOTES FROM MORE THAN ONE POSTER IN A POST:
“But that’s still not this, and it’s still quite a ways down the road from this, even on a slippier slope than the slope I expect we’re actually on, past a couple of pretty obvious signposts.”
Yeah, see, the contention was that getting worried about this is a silly paranoid delusion because it’s not like they’ll go around pulling noncompliant products from shelves and bringing criminal sanctions against manufacturers. And that’s, well, demonstrably not true. Calling something a slippery slope is the start of a rebuttal, not the entirety of it.Report
I take it you feel the same way about abstinence only education? There are no mandates only recommendations.Report
It’s weird how many people here equate recommended amounts of salt, fat, vitamins, etc. to regulations forcing people and businesses to adhere to those recommendations.Report
There is a bit of suspicion that the recommendation will stay a recommendation and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are not content with recommendations.Report
I’m sure they plaintiffs are not content. I’m also sure that there are people who are not content that HBO gets to show movies with boobs on television. What exactly does that have to do with anything?
Good lord, people are treating this like it’s the equivalent of Bloomberg making soda illegal in NY. It’s not. There have been recommended daily amounts of salt, fat, sugar, protein, Vitamin C, potassium, etc, since before most people causing a fuss here were even born. They change all the time.
But, yeah. This is so totally 1984.Report
For my part, I’m noticing that we have switched from the whole “nobody is saying” part of the process to the “nobody is forcing” part of the process.
It might also be notable to see those who were arguing against the (mistaken!) assumption that this was a mandate as if those arguing against that position (which no one holds!) were being silly and selfish… which tells me that there will be other parts of the process that we’re going to visit.Report
Where do you see me saying “nobody is saying?” A government recommendation is absolutely someone saying. See? I’m even being explicit about it.
It still isn’t making you do anything.
The government has had recommended daily amounts of sugar/salt/fiber/etc. for many, many decades, and the impact that has had on you and anyone else that didn’t really care about how much sugar/salt/fiber/etc. you ate has been exactly zilch. Like all other forms of wolf-calling, pretending otherwise will just makes future arguments about actual government intrusions carry that much less weight.Report
I don’t see you saying “nobody is saying”. Indeed, nobody is saying “nobody is saying”.
We’re well past the part of the process where people are pointing out that nobody is saying.
We’re in the part of the process where we’re pointing out that nobody is pointing a gun to anyone’s head.Report
Does it have to be 1984 to be a problem?
This is not setting daily amounts. This is setting targets for over 100 categories of product. This is everything California, or Oregon, or any other state needs to make a law. All they need is to add a penalty. Or a court to open the door for private litigation.
In response to a health concern that may be vastly overstated.
I know, slippery slope yadda yadda, but the CSPI is very specific about what it wants if the targets are not “voluntarily” met. The government is silent on the issue.Report
Explain to me how any of those dangers you speak of didn’t exist yesterday, when the recommended level of salt as X and not Y.
I’m sorry, but all of this shows up on my radar as culture war baiting and nothing else.Report
Last week the targets were a lot higher. There were no low benchmarks for states to use. Such a law would have been harder for a state to pass but now they can say “The FDA says this is too much for this product to have.”
There was no “You have two years to reduce it by this much, and ten years to reduce it by this much.” What happens if they don’t? Not sure. But I guess I just shouldn’t worry about it?
Because it’s absolutely, positively nothing unless it’s something, I guess. I will ponder this as I go out and vape some ejuice that the FDA is slated effectively pull off the market in two years. I’m sure I can count on them to be reasonable. Report
My dad once shot an elk, tried to hang it in the garage, and had the garage collapse. He also once took me to some colleges I was interested in so I could do the tours.
Turns out, those ended being two totally different things — even though it was my dad who did them both.
Oh, I’m not saying it’s the same thing. I’m not the least bit worried they’re going to effectively ban most products with salt. I’m saying that they’ve informed food makers that in two years sodium needs to be reduced by one amount, and in ten years it needs to be reduced by another amount, and after watching the FDA over the last year I am less than confident that if this doesn’t happen the FDA will say “Oh, well, I guess there’s nothing to be done here.”
And I am less than confident the food producers themselves believe that, which makes this more than just a recommendation. Report
“My dad once shot an elk, tried to hang it in the garage, and had the garage collapse. He also once took me to some colleges I was interested in so I could do the tours.”
And if she weighs the same as a duck, then she’s made of wood, and therefore a witch…?Report
How it got into his pajamas, I don’t know.Report
Why can’t it be culture-war baiting AND something potentially to discuss?
I do get the culture-war baiting argument, with the appeals to hipsters “forcing” us to adopt their culinary habits (and frankly with what seems to be the claim that the only concerns people are raising here are that these recommendations are creeping tyranny or the road to 1984).
But I also get the claim that the recommendation is just a recommendation until it’s more than a recommendation. Maybe the prospects for this turning into something less than good are small and the prospects for this turning into something nefarious are close to nil, but I think it’s worthwhile to ponder how far is too far to take these recommendations and how far these recommendations might be extended in the regulatory realm. It’s not just culture war baiting, it’s something else, too.Report
The biggest baddest most heavily armed entity in the world, with unlimited money, has a “recommendation” for you. Yeah…it’s “just” a recommendation.Report
I know, slippery slope yadda yadda, but the CSPI is very specific about what it wants if the targets are not “voluntarily” met. The government is silent on the issue.
True. This is the same argument that the left has with abortion restrictions: it’s not just that this abortion restriction is bad, or that one is bad (although they usually think they are), it’s that the avowed intention of the anti-abortion group is to get rid of it, and this is a step in that path.
I have noticed, however, that the far left then focus on yelling about the folks on the right who are pushing the agenda. They don’t then jump from that to equating everything else that the government does as some sort of dark nefarious agenda that will result in an end-state of ultimate tyranny and get rid of a woman’s right to choose.
Whereas the folks on the far right seem to focus less on the folks who are pushing the agenda and far more on the end state of ultimate tyranny because everything the government does is illegitimate.
This may certainly be tied heavily into observer bias.Report
FWIW, Bloomberg never outlawed soda nor tried to outlaw soda. He wanted to limit the size of certain drinks sold in certain places. It was a terrible idea for a number of reasons, but there was never an actual soda ban proposed or enacted.Report
Here is the FDA’s webpage on food. Please point me to one (ONE!) regulation, not a guidance, on the make-up of a recipe.
I see regulations on food safety, food labelling, food contact substances, and the like.
I do not see one single regulation on the amounts of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, salts and/or sugars that a particular recipe may contain.
CSPI are fishing assholes.Report
The link seems broken, @francis .Report
The goal of the CSPI is to take salt off the GRAS list. As long as it’s on that list it will be okay at the federal level.
What happens if the target reductions are not met? What do the food suppliers believe will happen? If they believe the consequences will be dire, is this all peachy voluntary?
I don’t know. Maybe it will be and maybe they have nothing to fear and know it.
I just know that six months ago the government didn’t seem to be targeting sodium content. Now it’s apparent that they are. A lot of things can spring from that.Report
People have been talking about sodium content for years. Here is a ppt presentation that notes that salt was listed as a GRAS in 1958, and that the salt content in food has been an issue since the 70s.
And the odds of CSPI proving that salt is not a GRAS is just about zero. After all, it is.
Above we have Damon and Dand complaining about regulation and liberal interference with their dietary choices. As best I can tell, their rants are based on knee-jerk assumptions about what the FDA does in general and what it did with the Draft (!) Guidance on Sodium Reduction, but these assumptions simply are not correct.Report
They have been, but over the last few years there has been more science suggesting that the threat from sodium has been overstated (for most people). So I had stopped worrying that the government was going to start coming down on it.Report
You are correct. Your assumptions are not correct.
The “salt recommendations” are just the tip of the iceberg. Really? We need someone to tell us how much salt to eat? Suggestions/education on how to read labels? Sure, but you don’t get to tell me, much less create a regulation or law prohibiting me from eating it in any quantity I want. Recommendations are usually the first step in new regulations. We all know the drill.
Seen it with soda in NY. Seen it in my state with similar drinks and foods. THAT’S what I’m cheesed off about.Report
” Seen it in my state with similar drinks and foods”
I’m honestly curious. What actions has your state / county / city taken to regulate your diet? To what extent were those actions based on FDA guidance documents?
And why are you blaming FDA? Once again, public science is overwhelmingly a public good. If your local government overreacts, go throw stones at them.
(And to be clear, I agree that FDA is far from perfect. My limited understanding of their imported cheese regulations is that FDA is far too dismissive of the alternatives to pasteurization that European countries find acceptable.)Report
It’s not just the FDA. Yeah, they got issues as well. It’s this concept that “we’ve decided what’s good for you”. That comes in the form of the “food pyramid” that screwed up everyone’s health by telling folks a low fat diet high in carbs was best. Wrong. We’re finding out that now that was crap.
It’s folks legislation social problems by prohibiting “unhealthy” foods from sale at schools, public areas, etc. in the name of “doing something for the children”.
I could go on….Report
It’s not just the FDA. Yeah, they got issues as well. It’s this concept that “we’ve decided what’s good for you”. That comes in the form of the “food pyramid” that screwed up everyone’s health by telling folks a low fat diet high in carbs was best. Wrong. We’re finding out that now that was crap.
The food pyramid didn’t screw up everyone’s health. People making poor diet decisions screwed up their own health. It’s as simple as that.
Besides, the obesity issue we see here in the US isn’t because people follow the food pyramid (or is myPlate now – i pay no attention to government guidelines).Report
“People making poor diet decisions screwed up their own health. It’s as simple as that.”
And who provided the “stamp of approval” on those guidelines that ultimately ended up being wrong? Nah, folks just en mass decided to switch their eating habits. Right. Back in the day it was “eggs are bad for you”. Now it’s “eggs are good for you”. That’s not to say that folks don’t own some responsibility, but when the gov’t promotes a way of eating that’s actually bad for you, they own some of the problem, which is why they should stay out of it.Report
You and I agree that the government should stay out of making dietary recommendations, although I suspect we do for different reasons.
I see what you’re saying about seals of approval and the guidelines being wrong, but I still have a problem with your position.
I can take the government’s recommended (and wrong) positions on say eggs and low-fat diets and have no problem constructing a lower-fat, moderate-to-high carb, moderate protein diet based on whole plant and animal foods. Hell, it’s basically the diet I follow on my lifting days now (with the exception of higher protein content).
Therefore, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the government’s recommendations automatically leads to a diet that’s inherently unhealthy. My health is not threatened if I don’t eat eggs. I can and do get my Omega 3’s from fish oil. I can get healthy fats from other sources. I can avoid (mostly) processed carbohydrates. I can avoid “fat free” foods and drinks with added sugars and eat fat free foods like fruit and vegetables and drink water, black coffee, tea, etc.. I don’t have to cook three dry cups of oatmeal every time I want to have grains.
Therefore, I get a bit skeptical when I hear that the government should own part of the problem. No, it shouldn’t because people can still take incorrect guidelines and build a healthy diet off them. The problems here are poor food choices and a market more than willing to meet that demand. Hell, you can change the guidelines to whatever you want and I doubt you’d see people follow them anyway. The best evidence is the number of tires we see that aren’t on vehicles but around people’s waists. Just saying.
I should also mention that one of the biggest problems we have isn’t people following the government guidelines, but rather people exceeding them when it comes to caloric intake.Report
Dave, imagine that someone says we’re all responsible for paying the doctor bills of those fatarse rednecks in East Butthole TN who live on Cheetos, Mountain Dew, and whatever McDonald’s they can scrape together enough change to buy.
Is it really such a hard leap to get to “sodium content recommendations will have legal force behind them”?Report
Imagine, if you will, an essay talking about sexual habits that culminated in something like “the best course is long-term monogamy with a partner who is also long-term monogamous… also, in the case of heterosexual couplings, the best forms of birth control are vasectomies or tubal ligation and, if those aren’t options because you wish to exercise your fertility in the future, a spermicidal foam or use of a diaphragm with a spermicide”.
Imagine that comment section.
You mean, imagine the government compiling statistics of the risks and comparative efficacy of all the various forms of birth control, and recommending that healthcare professionals let their patients know about those statistics — and even recommending changing what healthcare professionals tell people as more and more data is collected?
Yeah, what a strange new world that would be.Report
Your imagination is your own.
But I wasn’t asking you to imagine the government doing something.Report
No, you were comparing an apple to an orange. I was simply making the orange in your hand look more like the apple on the table.Report
Your comment began “It’s weird how many people here equate…”
And I was asking you to imagine an essay, here, and the comments that followed.
I was asking you to imagine an apple to compare to the “weird” apple that you were noticing.Report
Not following you.
Are you saying that you were simply saying, “Man, kids on the internet these days?”
If so, then… yeah. Kid’s on the internet these days.Report
No, that wasn’t what I was saying.
I was more asking you to imagine the responses to a (presumably) well-meaning person making somewhat staid recommendations about the behaviors that take place in a corner of the lives of others that is, presumably, private.
I was asking you to imagine people taking umbrage as this presumption.
From there, I suppose, we might have talked about the evolution of what society considers its own business and what society considers “nunya”.Report
I’m following and I imagine that some people might react as you imply they might.
So what? I would take umbrage with those people just as I would take umbrage with the people here who are misrepresenting what is happening?
Is suspicion warranted? Sure. Hell, I’m a bit suspicious of where we go. But surely there is a difference between saying, “I’m curious if these recommendations remain such and fear they will not,” and saying, “ZOMG… the government is trying to ram kale down my throat!”Report
I’m more of a “is this the business of society/government?” kinda guy here.
I’m not certain that the amount of salt in food, even processed food, is the business of society/government.
I’d push the burden of proof onto the people who wish to argue that it is.
For reasons similar to those pertaining to consensual oral sex.Report
The government has been in the business of public health since the mid 19th century. Sewage disposal, water treatment, food adulteration regulations, etc. etc.
Because govt science is done by people, sometimes they make mistakes. The low-fat advice seems to have been incorrect. The advice on salt levels seems to have some significant opposition.
And that’s why govt statements on nutrition are framed as guidances, not regulations. Adulterated food / contaminated food — these are areas where the government is comfortable in issuing bans. Dietary choices, not so much.
As to salt content or BMI or fat intake or the food pyramid or recommended levels of exercise, I personally have no problem with the government advising the public as to the state of the best science. If I want to ignore the food label, that’s my business. But it’s nice to know that I can check to see just what govt scientists think of my diet.
Government science is an incredibly useful and powerful public good. Do we really want the science of nutrition controlled and disseminated by food companies?Report
Society and government has also had opinions on consensual oral sex.
I’m not denying that society and government have power that they haven’t hesitated to wield in the service of their opinions on consensual oral sex.
I’m saying that the burden of proof is on those who argue “oh, yeah, this is totally the business of society and the government”.
If all we’re talking about is a website that advises people to eat 5 servings of grains a day, 4 servings of dairy, 3 servings of fruits and veggies, and one serving a day of sweets, I’m totally down with saying “eh, no harm, no foul”.
Is that all we’re talking about?Report
Various nanny organizations have been trying to get the Fed Govt to do all kind of killjoy things for the last 200+ years. Sometimes they succeed — the Controlled Substances Act is a current example, as is some of the Consumer Products Safety Act.
Frequently they fail, as did CSPI here. Unfortunately, the 1st Amendment allows the nannies to keep trying. That means the rest of us, or our appointed delegates, have to keep an eye out. And if people have objections to the current draft Guidance on dietary sodium, they can send in their comments.
(Note: all caps letters about yuppies controlling peoples’ diets are unlikely to be given much weight. But reasoned argument that the government is going too far in protecting the interests of the minority of people who have medical issues with sodium, and is thereby creating a climate of fear and mistrust for the rest of us, will likely carry much more credibility.)
But rejecting the idea that the government is a source (among others) of valid science, simply because we’re concerned that the science may be misused, is to me giving too much power to the slippery slope argument. When Guidances turn into Regulations or even bans, we can fight those battles then. For now, the government should be pressed on the issues of whether its recommendations are actually supported by the science.
But technical arguments about balancing various risks and trying to improve public health in the face of uncertainty is much less fun than getting all shouty about an intrusive Uncle Sam acting at the direction of yuppies and hipsters and liberals and various other unpleasant people.Report
I want to make sure I’m understanding, @jaybird .
The question are you asking, at its core, is “Is this something the government should be in the business of making recommendations about?”
Leave aside the accuracy of those recommendations or what those recommendations might lead to and whether they are actually recommendations or regulations-masking-as-recommendations… your position is, “The government shouldn’t be involved in anything regarding the salt content of food.” Do I have that more-or-less correct?Report
I’m saying “I don’t see how this is the business of society, any more than consensual oral sex is the business of society.”
As such, I see that the burden of proof for that it is something that is appropriate for society/government to start giving advice about is on the people who argue that it is appropriate to have government give advice about this sort of thing.
And, again, if we’re just limiting it to something like “keep it monogamous, use little circles”, no harm, no foul.Report
I don’t necessarily disagree.
Part of me would like for the government to act as a clearing house for good information… a place where people can go and say, “I know I can get some unbiased facts that are accurate and which are not part of a larger agenda. And I can get these facts about everything from salt content to oral sex!”
And another part of me thinks that there is too much history of the government giving bad information — be it intentionally biased or simply bad data — to trust them.
At the same time, we allow all sorts of private groups to peddle information as they see fit. So why not the government? Because of the presumption of trust so many imbue it with? I don’t really have an idea. In the marketplace of ideas, why not let the government be a competitor provide we don’t empower it to enforce its ideas?
I mean, what could go wrong?Report
You missed an opportunity to write that post.Report
My heart wouldn’t have been in it.
I really don’t see how other people have sex as any of my (insert double entendre here) business.Report
Hold on, the “ZOMG! Government Overreach!” brigade is up in arms about the fact that “the FDA today formally denied CSPI’s petition that asked for mandatory, instead of voluntary, standards” and I’m supposed to be outraged because CSPI (not the FDA) wants to ask for mandatory standards again later?
I mean, is the government guilty of overreach when the NRA wants something? Greenpeace? AARP?
In the words of the GOP’s current leader: Sad!Report
This is a positive development! Not sad at all!Report
In Barack Obama’s America, poor people who have to resort to buying meals one at a time instead of having the luxury of time and the resources with which they would be cooking for themselves are forced to purchase meals that will eventually kill them.Report
I’m not ordinarily all that sympathetic with the shriller elements, but I do see the equivalence. Even if the government isn’t listening to them this very minute, it’s important to stress that the AFA fully intends to come for not just your abortions, but birth control and sex education as well. Similarly with CSPI, they have an agenda, they’re not secretive about it, and this isn’t the final step in it. And just because they got rebuffed now doesn’t mean they’ll stop. Lobbying the government for food regulations is what they do – it’s all they do.
It’s important to keep the fingers pointing at the extra-governmental groups so that we never forget about them. If this could be done without climbing on one’s personal hobby-horse, grabbing a toy lightsaber, and aiming at the nearest windmill, so much the better. And more convincing as well.Report
This. And while we’re pushing back against the food nannies at CSPI, we can ease up on the regulation of imported cheese and cured meats. There are millions of Europeans who manage to eat raw milk Camembert without dying. (The listeria is killed off in the process.)Report
Yes please dear god I need this….Report
You can’t buy raw-milk cheese? I’m not sure any of the stores near me don’t sell it.Report
An argument on the merits of CSPI’s goal is one thing. Just as I am free to disagree with the goals of the NRA, and others are free to disagree with the goals of any other political advocacy group they choose.
I’m not sure why CSPI or the NRA or any other advocacy group’s statement of their future goals has anything to do with actual government overreach, though.. Particularly where what the government did was specifically reject CSPI’s call for what its critics would see as overreach.Report
No the gov’t gave them a half loaf and set it up so they could get the rest of the loaf in time. The FDA still overreached but only did so by half. To argue that the FDA didn’t overreach b/c it only gave the CSPI half of what it wanted is silly.Report
“set it up so they could get the rest of the loaf in time”
Says who on the government side? That reads as clear CSPI spin.Report
This is simply not true. The difference between a guidance and a regulation is: regulation –> a bag of potato chip must have less than a particular amount of salt or it cannot be sold / guidance –> the label shows that the amount of salt in the bag is in excess of the RDA.Report
I thought the biggest threats were the vegans and their even more obnoxious counterparts, the fruitarians. That’s why I’m voting for Trump.Report