According to today's report in The Washington Post, the FDA is planning an "unprecedented" effort to limit the salt consumption of Americans. The idea is that putting legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in food would significantly lower the number of deaths from heart disease and hypertension. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would also join in the efforts, which were confirmed by anonymous sources in the FDA.
Although the salt content of food is listed on nutritional labels, it is not currently regulated. The CDC reports that the American public consumes about twice the daily recommended amount of sodium, about 77% of which comes from processed foods. The massive and complicated undertaking won't be easy, as, unlike sugar, there is no real substitute for salt. Experts also note that low-sodium food has a history of tasting, well, pretty terrible.
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"This is a 10-year program," said one source. "This is not rolling off a log. We're talking about a comprehensive phase-down of a widely used ingredient. We're talking about embedded tastes in a whole generation of people." Right. If Americans don't like the government making sure that they actually have affordable health care, imagine what's going to happen when the government makes their potato chips taste like sawdust.