Apr 27, 2010

Government assaults salt

by Jenna Shoffner

“Let them eat cake.”

Centuries later, the words of French queen Marie Antoinette are still widely known. In her day, the regulators of France gave little thought to what the people could, should or cared to eat. 

Fast forward a few hundred years and focus on the Western world, and the current government of America is almost as distorted, yet in a different form. 

The federal government is purportedly planning on urging the food industry to decrease levels of salt in their products, the goal being an eventual legal limit of salt in processed foods, according to Fox News.  The urging comes from a panel from the Institute of Medicine, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health and member of the Institute of Medicine voiced the reasoning behind such strict salt regulations.

“There is now overwhelming evidence that we must treat sodium reduction as a critical public health priority.”

Yes, too much salt is detrimental to one’s health in numerous ways. Yes, a health-conscious person will limit sodium intake. Yes, a person with no record of heart attack or stroke will spend less on health insurance over a lifetime. 

These are three reasons, which could probably be followed by many more, of why limited salt intake is a beneficial concept. Government takeover of salt levels in food, however, is a different matter.

When the government has so much power that it controls how many milligrams of sodium enter the body, there is a definite problem.  Sodium content in food may seem like an insignificant concern. Yet the reason it should be considered lies in the fact that, while salt may not be a big deal, loss of freedom is. 

If salt regulations are passed, what could be next? No more sugar, white flour or fried foods because it is unhealthy?  With all the excessive regulations, the government is beginning to resemble an overprotective parent whose child cannot think for himself. And with such a masterful stance, there is no freedom. 

Decreased salt intake and health problems would diminish, but governmental control is not a satisfactory way in which to achieve such a goal.

If the government wants to lower health risks, then it should inform, not regulate. Informing the country of the horrific nature of heart attack, stroke, hypertension and kidney disease would be acceptable over further regulations. 

Yes, Washington, inform. But do not make the choice. That is the people’s right. And what a shameful crime it is to steal that away from America. If Americans know the risks, and still proceed to make detrimental choices, it should be a personal matter, not a federal one. 

And so I say, “Let them eat salt — if they so choose.”


Contact Jenna Shoffner at


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