Government Sets New Recommended Salt Levels for Foods – ABC News [+1]

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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196 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    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

  2. Avatar Damon says:

    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

    • Avatar Dand in reply to Damon says:

      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

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Dand says:

        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.

        F Them.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Dand says:

        People call you a racist for liking salt on your food?

        Where the fish do you live?Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Damon says:

      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

  3. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I am waiting with bated breath to see if we’re going to get the long-awaited return of MSG…Report

  4. Avatar Dand says:

    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

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dand says:

      So, because government might demand there be a label that warns against sodium, you will be forced to…hate on black people?Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        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

        • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Dand says:

          Where did @chip-daniels call you a racist? I certainly didn’t read that in his comment.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dand says:

          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.

          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

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            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

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            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

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              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

              • Avatar Dand in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                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

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dand says:

                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

              • Avatar Dand in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                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

              • Avatar Dand in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                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

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dand says:

                Yes, don’t you think so?

                Which candidate would have caused more pain and human suffering, Pickrel or Taft?Report

    • Avatar Francis in reply to Dand says:

      Dear Dand:

      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

      • Avatar Dand in reply to Francis says:

        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

    • Avatar Patrick in reply to Dand says:

      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

  5. 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

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    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

    • Avatar notme in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      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

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to notme says:

        “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:

          “Americans need to reduce their sodium intake to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke,” said CSPI president Michael F. Jacobson. “If companies achieved the FDA’s proposed targets, it would have a huge benefit for the public’s health. If companies don’t achieve these voluntary targets, it would be clear that mandatory limits will be necessary to reach safe sodium levels.”

          Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          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

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

            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

        • Avatar notme in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          This article says it is voluntary at this time. So your interpretation looks correct.

          http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Bite/2016/0601/Hold-the-salt-FDA-introduces-new-sodium-guidelines-videoReport

    • “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

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Will Truman says:

        “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

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon says:

          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

          • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim says:

            Well,

            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

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Damon says:

              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

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Damon says:

          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

        • Avatar Murali in reply to Damon says:

          You know what happens to a food product with gluten in it when that’s removed?

          It tastes like regurgitated cardboard?Report

        • Avatar Murali in reply to Damon says:

          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

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

        @will-truman

        I concur on the science but still find the reaction here to be way over the top.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

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        Gabriel Conroy: I’d prefer something more along the lines of notifying people so they can make their own decisions.

        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

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        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

        • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Patrick says:

          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

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      “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

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to DensityDuck says:

        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

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Patrick says:

          “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

          • Avatar Francis in reply to DensityDuck says:

            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

            • Avatar Patrick in reply to Francis says:

              Mostly this.

              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

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Francis says:

              “Graveyards are full of people who died of listeriosis.”

              Yeah and oh hey what’s this:

              Rawesome members sign a form attesting that “as a member of this private members-only club, I demand access to food that is 1) produced without exposure to chemical contaminants such as industrialized pesticides, fertilizers, cleansers or their gases; 2) complete with its natural unadulterated enzymes intact; 3) may contain microbes, including but not limited to salmonella, E. coli, campylobacter, listeria, gangrene and parasites; 4) the cows are grass-fed and the goats are pastured on a regular basis; 5) fowl are regularly given the opportunity to range outdoors and not fed soy products; and 6) eggs are unwashed and may have bacteria and poultry feces on them.”

              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

    • Avatar Dand in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I take it you feel the same way about abstinence only education? There are no mandates only recommendations.Report

  7. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    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

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      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

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

        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

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          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

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

            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

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              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

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          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

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

            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

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              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

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

                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.

                Weird, right?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                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

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                “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

          • Avatar Patrick in reply to Will Truman says:

            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

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          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

      • Avatar Francis in reply to Will Truman says:

        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

        • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Francis says:

          The link seems broken, @francis .Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Francis says:

          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

          • Avatar Francis in reply to Will Truman says:

            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

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Francis says:

              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

            • Avatar Damon in reply to Francis says:

              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

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Damon says:

                ” 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

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Francis says:

                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

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Damon says:

                @damon

                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

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Dave says:

                “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

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Damon says:

                @damon

                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

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Dave says:

                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

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      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.

      It’s glorious.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

        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

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          Your imagination is your own.

          But I wasn’t asking you to imagine the government doing something.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

            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

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              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

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

                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

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                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

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird

                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

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                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

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Jaybird says:

                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

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Francis says:

                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

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Jaybird says:

                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

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                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

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                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

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                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

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Jaybird says:

        You missed an opportunity to write that post.Report

  8. Avatar Nevermoor says:

    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

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Nevermoor says:

      This is a positive development! Not sad at all!Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Nevermoor says:

      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

    • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Nevermoor says:

      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

      • Avatar Francis in reply to El Muneco says:

        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

      • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to El Muneco says:

        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

        • Avatar notme in reply to Nevermoor says:

          Particularly where what the government did was specifically reject CSPI’s call for what its critics would see as overreach.

          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

          • Avatar Nevermoor in reply to notme says:

            “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

          • Avatar Francis in reply to notme says:

            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

  9. Avatar Dave says:

    @francis

    Francis: 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?

    None. Next…Report

  10. Avatar Dave says:

    Dand:
    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.

    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