Washington Post, “FDA plans to limit amount of salt allowed in processed foods for health reasons“:

The Food and Drug Administration is planning an unprecedented effort to gradually reduce the salt consumed each day by Americans, saying that less sodium in everything from soup to nuts would prevent thousands of deaths from hypertension and heart disease. The initiative, to be launched this year, would eventually lead to the first legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in food products.

Food manufacturers are undertaking serious, voluntary efforts to reduce the salt content in their products.

Voluntary? Hah!

“We can’t just rely on the individual to do something,” says Cheryl Anderson, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Here’s an idea. Salt is one of the most important commodities and even currencies in the history of man. The word “salary” comes from the Latin “salarium,” meaning money paid to soldiers to buy salt.

So, why not just wrap salt regulation in under the financial regulation bill in the Senate? As John Berlau of the Competitive Enterprise Institute argues, the financial regulation bill defines large (non-banking) sectors of the economy as banks in order to regulate them. If you sell salt or use it in your products, you’re a bank!

In other salt-related news, Mark Kurlansky, author of Salt, has a new book out, “Eastern Stars,” about the great baseball players from San Pedro, the Dominican Republic. He speaks Wednesday evening at the DC bookstore, Politics & Prose. Salt is a very entertaining, commodity-oriented history of the world. We were hoping Zinc was next.

UPDATE (10:10 a.m.): Walter Olson comments at Overlawyered.com:

We’ve been warning of such developments for a while, and they come as little surprise given President Obama’s pick of hyper-regulator Margaret Hamburg as FDA commissioner.

P.S. Perhaps we should invite comment from the New York Times journalist who sternly admonished an interview subject recently: “You shouldn’t trivialize issues of health and safety by calling them nanny issues.”

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