FDA to regulate salt...

Sara - posted on 04/28/2010 ( 64 moms have responded )

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Every body needs salt, but the amount in which it is consumed in America is far greater than necessary. Salt helps to maintain the water content in blood, balances blood’s acids and bases, and is essential for the movement of electrical charges in the nerves that move our muscles. However, the overuse of salt can result in chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

The National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association recommends a diet containing no more than 2,400 mg of sodium (1 teaspoon) per day, but it is estimated that Americans consume, on average, 4,000 to 6,000 mg of sodium per day. Salt is heavily used in processed and prepared foods, from salad dressings to cookies to your favorite potato chips.

Today, a panel from the Institute of Medicine recommended that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulate the amount of sodium used in processed food. Decades of recommendations have not been heeded by the public, and given the amount of processed food purchased in this country, the best way to reduce salt consumption is by regulating the companies preparing the food.

Jane Henney, panel chairwoman, said "For 40 years we have known about the relationship between sodium and the development of hypertension and other life threatening diseases, but we have had virtually no success in cutting back the salt in our diets…. The best way to accomplish this is to provide companies the level playing field they need so they are able to work across the board to reduce salt in the food supply."

Whether or not the FDA complies with the recommendation remains to be seen, but the panel has our best interests at heart, so to speak. According to recent research, a combined effort made by the United States government and the food industry to reduce American salt consumption by just 10 percent could prevent as many as half a million heart attacks, while saving the nation about $32 million in healthcare costs.

Along the same lines, another program known as the National Salt Reduction Initiative is calling for a 20 percent reduction in salt intake over the next five years. The initiative is lead by the New York City Health Department, under the direction of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and is aimed at both food manufacturers and restaurants. If nothing else, both of these recommendations may reach public eyes and consumers will make more informed decisions on their food purchases.

What do you all think of this? Should the government regulate things like this?

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Christa - posted on 04/29/2010

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Christina, you don't know me, but I can't stand Obama just about as much as anyone, but you can't blame him for this.

This may surprise some of you, but I'm ok with them taxing these unhealthy foods and using that money for our healthcare costs, just like they've done on cigarettes. If someone wants to consume these ignoring health warnings, then they should pay for it when they eventually end up in the hospital.

Kate CP - posted on 05/02/2010

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You know, if you cook with salt you actually end up using MORE of it than if you were to just season your food at the table? THAT is why reducing the use of salt IN FOOD PREPARATION is important. You will consume LESS SALT that way.

And seriously I am so tired of people blaming Obama for everything. At least he didn't send us into a "military action" (ie war) for 8 years.

Amie - posted on 04/29/2010

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Christina,

There is a point to it. For the families and people who want to eat healthier but can't afford it! I'm sure they'll love the option. Especially considering how over weight American citizens are. Maybe with the healthier options available at a decent price it will help those struggling to find a way that they can afford.

The few who love salt to the degree that you mention (because they really are in the minority) will grab their salt shaker and just add it. For the majority who do want to be able to afford healthy foods without breaking their bank it will be a much appreciated effort.

Isobel - posted on 04/29/2010

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I have absolutely no problem with that...I think it should be regulated, and so should fat and sugar...it's your right to eat what you want...not your right to monopolize a health care system that is already over-taxed as it is.

It is also not your right to teach your children that eating that way is good for them. They have no choice in the matter.

Krista - posted on 04/29/2010

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Honestly, I don't have any kind of an issue with the government regulating how much sodium is in processed food. There is definitely more than is needed for taste purposes.

I do think that Bloomberg should leave the restaurants alone, though. Salt is not just used for taste, but it is also used for its inherent chemical properties. Unless you're only ever eating at restaurants, and unless your restaurant uses a lot of processed food, your sodium intake from restaurants is not going to make or break your health.

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64 Comments

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Rosie - posted on 05/03/2010

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i love being able to control how much salt i add in things. i love foodnetwork and get all excited to act like a gourmet chef. sprinkling my chicken with salt, giving the pan a couple turns of EVOO. it's all fun for me. take that away by adding so much salt into things that i can't do it will make me sad :(

it's definitely a big reason why i dont buy already made lasagna, or soup from a can or most other stuff like that. it's no fun when i don't get to be the spice fairy.

?? - posted on 04/30/2010

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was the .9999 just a lil too much? I knew I crossed the line with the extra .9999... I'll keep myself in check I plomise ;)

Johnny - posted on 04/30/2010

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but re-reading those 2 posts, I can only find 1 exclamation point and two words capitalized. If that's your version of wound up.... lol!

C. - posted on 04/30/2010

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You need a sense a humor perhaps.. You see all those exclamation marks she was using.. That's why I said that, Carol.. And the "Breathe.. *HEE HOO HEE*" was a joke.. You know, like what they supposedly teach you in birthing class..? (I wouldn't actually know since I never went to one, but that's what I heard).. Wow, I suppose I will just keep my mouth shut from now on since so many of you can't take a bit of sarcasm, even though you all have it, too..

Johnny - posted on 04/30/2010

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*looks around*

Hmmm....I don't see anyone getting "wound up" in this thread. Passionate about health perhaps, and for good reason.

C. - posted on 04/30/2010

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No need to get all wound up there, Lea.. Take it easy.. Breathe.. *HEE HOO HEE*

Lea - posted on 04/30/2010

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If they pre-make the food with a lot of sodium, we lose the ability to judge for ourselves how much salt we want to put on, if any at all. You can't take out the sodium that they put in. This is NOT a pointless regulation. I want the right to choose for myself for my own health. A LOT of people use "light" salt or Mrs. Dash or spices or lemon juice because they are concerned about their health or the have high blood pressure. I had high blood pressure for a year and it is not fair to those people with this condition for it to be so hard to buy food.

Lea - posted on 04/30/2010

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Convenience-type foods (boxed/canned/frozen) have extremely high amounts of salt. Just check the labels and you may see something like 30% - 50% of your daily allowance in one serving! And who eats the standard one serving anyway! Do you really think thats necessary? Don't you want to be able to buy food without the hassle of being tricked into getting something that is terrible for you for no good reason? On the other hand, maybe companies are really just concerned about it tasting right to you and it tastes better that way because its so highly processed that it actually tastes terrible! Or maybe they are concerned with the safety of the food in terms of illness and salt makes a good preservative? At any rate, I am very much in support of this. I was happy when the FDA started mandating whole grain in cereals and I haven't heard one complaint from anyone about their cereal.

C. - posted on 04/30/2010

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It really doesn't matter if your canned tomatoes have a little bit of salt.. Tomatoes contain high levels of Potassium, which counteract the salt and flushes it out faster. So a little bit won't matter.. Now if it's drowning in a salt bath.. That may be a different story..

Johnny - posted on 04/30/2010

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Many of the canned tomatoes here have salt added to them. You can buy "no salt added" ones at Whole Foods etc. Most of our canned vegetables have added salt. The only way to avoid it is to can your own.

Jodi - posted on 04/30/2010

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Some of the ones here do :) Believe it or not.... they actually ADD salt to them. I just check the label and make sure I buy the ones without added salt.

[deleted account]

Canned tomatoes have salt in them???? Runs to cupboard to check....
Nope, trace levels of sodium, you scared me then Jodi, thats a staple part of my diet!

Jodi - posted on 04/30/2010

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While I understand the argument that we can all make that choice ourselves, SOOOO many people don't read labels, and actually don't know HOW to read labels. Many people don't even know what their daily intake should be, let along keep track of how much they are having. Labels can be notoriously difficult to read, especially if your serving sizes are different to that on the label, suddenly you have to start working it out in your head. If you have not had the education to do this, then how can you be expected to understand what you are putting into your body?

I am all for limiting salt, and also sugar. Over the years, salt and sugar in many processed foods has been increased. It has coincided with longer shelf life in a lot of products :)

Here in Australia, an agreement has been reached recently between the Australian Government and bread and cereal manufactureres to reduce sodium in breakfast cereals and breads by up to 15% over the next 4 years. I think this is a fantastic step in the right direction.

According to research, the highest sodium content per 100g is in sauces and spreads, the next highest culprit are breads and cereals (around 1300mg per 100g). Now when you consider that breads and cereals do actually form a significant part of most people's diets, that's scary!!

I agree that if people want more salt, they can pick up a shaker and add more. But you can't take it out if you want less.....

Personally, I cook most things from scratch with fresh produce, but I do still purchase and cook with things such as canned tomatoes and stock. I purchase reduced salt varieties, but sometimes, you can't purchase a reduced salt option, and the sodium content is ridiculous (in which case I toss that recipe, LOL).

Iris - posted on 04/29/2010

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The choice is there if there is less salt in the food. I don't see the choice of less salt if there already is to much salt in the food, it's very simple. Like already has been mentioned, you can always add salt.
I think it's something that needs to happen.

[deleted account]

Carol... 151% of daily recommended amount of salt ... that's like 9g of salt in one pot of rice.
I've never seen that in the UK. I just went and looked through some of the savory rice, noodle and pasta packs. Nothing has a higher salt content than 3g and they are all sized to serve 2 or 3 people. No issues with flavour. NO WAY should one product be able to contain more salt than a recommended daily allowance. Thats crazy!

On a different note, several years ago we had a major campaign to make school dinners more healthy. Processed foods were removed from the menu. Meals were being prepared from scratch using fresh produce. When then chef went to add salt to flavour the food he was reprimanded by kitchen staff as they weren't allowed to add any extra salt. He was stunned to have to point out that the amount required for flavouring a freshly cooked meal compared with the processed junk they had been using was tiny.

Johnny - posted on 04/29/2010

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http://www.sugarcloud.com/blog/?p=181

Check out the nutrition label at the bottom of this page. It's from a package of instant noodles. Should this really be allowed?

Personally, I don't enjoy salt, and it irritates me when I eat out and the soup or whatever is already heavily salted. If I wanted salt, I could use the shaker myself. And I haven't eaten a can of soup in the last 5 years, it is next to impossible to find one with lower than a 20% sodium content for a half a cup of soup. Blech!

Perhaps because we have universal healthcare, but I think if our tax dollars are covering people's health problems, the government is obligated to legislate some reasonable level of consumption or at least tax the hell out of those products.

Jenny - posted on 04/29/2010

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Tough cookies if they notice although I do hear they are doing it in stages to wean the people off. Those who do not want salt cannot take it out of the food so the logical solution is to not add it in the first place. If you want more salt on it, shake more salt on it.

C. - posted on 04/29/2010

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@Christa.. Point taken. I apologize for coming off the way I did.



@Amie..



"That right there Christina completely turns your argument in a circle."



No, it really doesn't. The FDA said they were wanting to do this b/c it's "healthier" (it is.. But..) If the people are going to be adding their own salt from their own salt shaker.. It becomes just as unhealthy as it was before. So really, there's just no point in it.



@Laura.. You obviously don't know anyone that LOVES salt. I'm talking about every time you go to their house for dinner, it's like you're eating a straight-up salt-lick.. It's just THAT salty.. Too many people use salt to actually flavor food.. It's meant to enhance the natural flavor of food, not be the flavor itself. So, I'm pretty sure there will be plenty of people that will notice.

Krista - posted on 04/29/2010

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Laura's exactly right. Even if people are liberal with the salt shaker, they still probably wouldn't add nearly 1/10th of what was in the food to begin with.

Unless you're like my husband's grandfather, who used to put salt on his hot dogs. He's still alive, though. But I'm guessing his kidneys look like a couple of dried-up old baked beans that someone found under the stove.

Christa - posted on 04/29/2010

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I didn't want you to think I was an "Obama lover", that's all. :-)

C. - posted on 04/29/2010

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Christa, I wasn't all wound up.. I wasn't rude or anything; I was trying to be as nice as possible.. I just didn't see how that was relevant to this thread.

Christa - posted on 04/29/2010

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Christina, I don't know why you are so wound up. I made my comment about you not knowing me, because many of the people on here do and they know I'm about as conservative as they come. And I agree with you, I don't think they should do this. I was just trying to tell you that you can't blame Obama for this one. I was trying to show you I'm on the same "side" as you on this one, but I disagree with you blaming Obama.

Isobel - posted on 04/29/2010

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and yes, Christina, it will help...because a lot of people are not aware of how much salt is in their prepared food, and would not miss half of it if it were gone.

Amie - posted on 04/29/2010

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If people WANT to eat unhealthy even though they KNOW it's bad for them, it's THEIR choice!



^^ That right there Christina completely turns your argument in a circle. If they want to eat saltier foods then they have the salt shaker at home. No one is trying to ban salt, no one is trying to track and monitor how much salt a person takes home. They are making the junk food healthier and THEN if people STILL want to crap their lives and health away, they can do so of their own free will by ADDING it at home.



Freedom of CHOICE is still fully in play.

C. - posted on 04/29/2010

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Amie.. You're completely missing the point. They want to do it b/c it's healthier.. I get that.. BUT JUST ABOUT EVERYONE HAS A SALT SHAKER!!!! So lowering the salt in a food isn't going to do ANYTHING.. People are still going to be adding the MISSING salt to their food once they go to consume it!!!! I know people that LOVE salt (not people in my family, but family friends.. Oddly enough, my family can't stand salty foods).. Trust me. They can think it's going to make some great change, but those people are still going to be adding the salt to their food b/c half the salt is missing. THEY WILL KNOW. Salt lovers know when even a little bit of salt is missing.



And no, Mary.. First of all, just b/c you don't like Republicans, that is no reason to call one of them "crazy". That was rude. Even though I don't like Obama, Bill Clinton, etc.. I wouldn't go as far as calling them "crazy", unless they were literally insane. And yes, I do think that raising the tax on cigarettes is wrong.. It's already through the roof. They think that raising the tax on cigarettes is going to get people to quit b/c then many of them won't be able to afford it.. I used to work in a store, and sadly saw too many smokers scraping by to get cigarettes and leaving baby food at the register b/c they "didn't have enough for it".. So it's just going to make things worse. More and more people are going to be doing just that.. Buying their cigarettes instead of something their child needs, just b/c cigarettes are just so expensive anymore. Now, I have always hated cigarette smoke (how ironic, I know), but again I think people are crossing the line over to invading someone's personal choice.



And no, Christa.. I don't know you.. I don't personally know anyone in this thread.. I don't understand what that has anything to do with this..? Again, they are crossing the line. They are MAKING people choose something that they don't want. If people WANT to eat unhealthy even though they KNOW it's bad for them, it's THEIR choice! It's not for our government to say to stop. Putting warnings everywhere helps, but when you know certain people buy certain kinds of foods (low-income families tend to buy more processed foods) b/c they're cheaper.. But still leaving the healthier options expensive enough that some low-income families can't afford it.. To me, that's just not right. They want people to buy healthier but aren't making any efforts to make the healthier options more readily available to EVERYONE.



Granted, some people buy them just b/c they like them and not b/c they are cheaper.. And in that case, the government is trying to take over our freedom of choice, IMO.

LaCi - posted on 04/29/2010

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I just realized this could eventually impact my pickle consumption. I spend a week a month eating dill pickles, the saltier the better. You know the ones, in the big gallon jar (i could eat one in a day, but I'm sure the boyfriend would be disgusted...). colored bright green. It's the only craving I have. Pickle Munching Syndrome. I know they should probably have skulls and crossbones across their label.... but I NEED them. I'm going to be extremely upset.

Mary - posted on 04/29/2010

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And I love that more and more people are getting concerned for our health, that's all lovely and crap.. But when you put higher taxes on certain things and reduce the salt.. Those people are going to find a way around it to get what they want.. And it's kind of taking away freedom of choice! If those people want to consume all that salt or sugar, who are you to tell them they "can't" or make it near impossible for them (since many low-income families buy the higher salt and higher sugar content foods b/c they're generally a lot cheaper).. I just think they are trying to dictate rather than preside. There is a line and they are crossing it.




Christina, can I assume from this statement that you oppose the increased taxation on tobacco products as well? Taxing "junk" foods at a higher rate due to it's detrimental impact on the health of Americans is no different than the increased taxation already in place on cigarettes. Obama was not in office when that practice began...it was that crazy Republican, I beleive....

[deleted account]

I don't know the food labelling guidelines in the US. In the UK we have a traffic light labelling system on all processed foods. All the stuff that is considered bad for you, saturated fats, added sugar, salt is given a green, amber or red score. Green = low levels, healthy. Amber = Average, medium amounts, ok generally. Red = Bad, high levels ... eat this and don't eat anything but green for the rest of the day!

Individuals need to be aware of what they are eating.

[deleted account]

Taken from an article written in 2001

In 1994 the British government recommended that people reduce their consumption of salt from 9 grams per day to a maximum of 6 grams per day. Only in recent years have scientists begun to discover that excessive consumption of salt may be associated with serious health problems and that the government’s guidelines should be taken very seriously.



You Americans only just catching on now???

Dana - posted on 04/28/2010

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Christina, there has been talk about it in public a long time ago. They've been talking about how bad salt is for you as long as I can remember. You just asked me if I watch the news. Now I'll ask you the same.

?? - posted on 04/28/2010

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LMAO @ it's Obama's fault ROFLMAO HAHAHAHAHAHA

Sorry.... ROFLMAO HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA LMAO oh my god LMAO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Sorry BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA


Ohhhhhhhhhh mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn....... wowwwwwie zowwwwwwwwie

Has anyone ever watched Jeff Dunham's show where Peanut does the whole "zoom" thing with the hand flying over his head...????

That is EXACTLY what I am picturing RIGHT NOW

OBAMA WANTS YOU TO LIVE LONGER...... OH SHIT!!! WHAT A FUCKING PRICK !!!!!!

ROFLMAO !!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA


ahhhhhahahahaaa


ok I think I'm done

ROFLMAO

Amie - posted on 04/28/2010

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Christina, I do hope you realize you kind of made the point of this type of legislation.

Lower income families buy processed food because it's cheaper. The regulations would be to lower the salt in those foods.

C. - posted on 04/28/2010

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If they had been planning it for decades, there would have been talk about it [in public] a LONG time ago! Get real. It all started coming out when Obama took Office.. That doesn't strike you as suspicious in the least?..

Dana - posted on 04/28/2010

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Ugh, yeah....I watch the news. I would like you to show me where he told The National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association to recommend this and where he told the Institute of Medicine to recommend it to the FDA. Also the fact that it is stated that these have been recommendations for decades. But I forgot, Obama has been planning on taking away your salt for YEARS.
Come one, really?

C. - posted on 04/28/2010

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Uh, if you ever watch the freakin' news.. He talks about things like that a lot! So.. Don't buy it.. But it usually comes straight from his mouth.



And insanity?? Don't you think it's kind of funny that ever since Obama was sworn-in, all these people want to start "regulating" things to the extreme?? Could it be b/c Obama is more of a dictator than a president? Hmm.. Who's the insane one now?

Dana - posted on 04/28/2010

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OMG really? HAHA another thing to blame Obama for? Not buying it, that's just insanity.

C. - posted on 04/28/2010

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Ok, so I didn't read the ENTIRE post.. I'm tired and have been taking care of a sick child all day. BUT, I have heard this argument before.. Personally, I don't like much salt.. The less there is, the better.. I just can't stand it. BUT..



I think this is all coming from Obama (as I- and many others- have seen that he is trying to dictate more than anything else). ANYWAY, the FDA can cut back on how much salt is allowed in a product.. But HELLO!!! Most Americans have salt shakers somewhere in their house!!! That's not going to do anything at all, except prove that Obama is power-hungry and is trying to micro-regulate every little thing in America.



Just like when he said that food products with a higher sugar content was to be tacked with a higher tax, all in the name of diabetes.. What about Type 1 diabetes, where it has absolutely NOTHING to do with how much you weigh?!?!?! Yeah..



And I love that more and more people are getting concerned for our health, that's all lovely and crap.. But when you put higher taxes on certain things and reduce the salt.. Those people are going to find a way around it to get what they want.. And it's kind of taking away freedom of choice! If those people want to consume all that salt or sugar, who are you to tell them they "can't" or make it near impossible for them (since many low-income families buy the higher salt and higher sugar content foods b/c they're generally a lot cheaper).. I just think they are trying to dictate rather than preside. There is a line and they are crossing it.

Krista - posted on 04/28/2010

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Bloomberg was initially calling for a complete ban on salt in restaurant cooking.

"No owner or operator of a restaurant in this state shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers of such restaurant, including food prepared to be consumed on the premises of such restaurant or off of such premises," the bill, A. 10129 , states in part.

I imagine he had enough cleaver-wielding chefs and bakers coming after him to reconsider his position. Imagine owning a bakery and then being told you can no longer use salt!

Restaurants aren't the problem. It's processed food, which contains WAY more sodium than a week's worth of restaurant meals.

Christa - posted on 04/28/2010

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LaCi, You may be right. It's been quite some time since I took bio chem, I'll have to brush up on it. :-)

Sharon - posted on 04/28/2010

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I wasn't thinking of fast food as much as prepacked manufactured foods.

I'd rather the feds kept their noses out of fast food altogether. The last time they meddled the food took a turn for the worse and utterly sucks. I used to love McDs fries, now they taste like BLAH. No amount of salt will save them.

ME - posted on 04/28/2010

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I'm torn on this too...I DO pay attention to what I'm eating, and read the lables...I don't need the government to tell me what is healthy and what is not. I have INSANELY low blood pressure as well (95/65 is about as high as it ever gets)...so, I've never worried too much about salt. I have access to healthy food choices tho...and in some communities, there is no such thing. If the government regulates what big co's can put into processed foods, people in these communities would be able to make some slightly healthier choices when they are forced to shop at the quickiemart for all of their food...my gut reaction is that this type of step is not necessary...but I have to remember that not everyone has the same fresh fruits and veggies available to them...so maybe they do need the government to help protect them a little better from these giant corporations!

Rosie - posted on 04/28/2010

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i think it should be limited in some form. maybe have the option in fast food of a salt free burger, and then obviously have the choice of salt free, and salty stuff at the store still. if people are still going to eat fast food, they should be able to have more choices than sodium laden burger or salad, i don't go to mcdonalds for a salad. totally mandating it though, it seems like we'd never stop. when would people be responsible for their own choice.

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