Friday, November 30, 2007

Pssst ... Got a salt shaker?

The Food and Drug Administration is contemplating yet another intervention into what you and I are allowed to eat. According to news reports:

Best known for deciding whether medications are safe and effective, the Food and Drug Administration is weighing whether to crack down on plain old salt, which doctors say is harmful in the quantities most Americans consume.

This is especially interesting because, not only is it a wildly presumptuous interference with personal taste and preference, and the market's response to that taste and preference, it's also a precipitous declaration that an ongoing debate in the medical and scientific community has been settled, just because federal bureaucrats say it has.

Yes, there is significant evidence that excessive salt intake can contribute to heightened blood pressure and cardiovascular disease -- but the data doesn't unanimously lead to that conclusion. Some studies have found that it depends on individuals' personal reaction to salt -- some people are simply not affected. And at least one study suggests "that low-salt diets may actually increase your risk of dying from heart attack or stroke."

So even if you don't agree that people ought to be able to exercise their personal choices as to what they eat, produce, buy and sell, this seems like an odd decision to ... well ... force down people's throats.



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