Wednesday, February 2, 2011


In case you haven't heard, the Food and Drug Administration announced this week that they are asking companies that produce food to voluntarily reduce the amount of salt added to processed food.  The second part of that story is that if companies do not reduce sodium in their products voluntarily, the FDA stands ready to  require the amount of salt to be reduced.  I guess the FDA has not heard about the boxes of salt available for sale on the bottom shelf in the spice aisle at Food City.

The FDA theorizes that if all of our processed food has steadily falling amounts of sodium, in a generation or two we will suddenly realize that, "Hey!  This can of soup tastes great!" even if there is only one grain of salt in it.  I tried some "healthy" soup as a lunch option once when I was still working.  It was the kind of soup that not only doesn't hurt your health, it fortifies your immunity and enables the consumer to re-grow diseased organs.  I took one taste and gagged.  I think the main ingredient (chicken?  beans?  lettuce?  it was hard to tell) was not something found in nature.  It smelled so bad that I threw it in the trash can in the hall way to keep the stink out of my office and went to the snack bar where I purchased a cheeseburger on a grilled bun.

Since ancient times salt has been a commodity that drives entire economies.  It was so important during the Civil War that battles were fought over salt production facilities.  Humans need salt to survive.

But now the FDA knows better. We cannot be trusted to cook our own food. When the time comes that the voluntary reduction procedures don't work, and the FDA must regulate the availability of salt to protect us all, the price of a pound of salt will be so expensive that Mexican gangs will sneak kilo-sized bundles of salt across the border and sell it in baggies to trembling chefs in dark alleys.

Will it come to the point that if you use a salt shaker, you're breaking the law?  That would make life at my house difficult.  We eat from the four food groups every day:  salt, fat, sugar, and caffeine.  I think that we would eat grilled possum liver if it had enough salt on it.

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