Are these attempts at salt regulation racist? Well, what about religious groups that use salt for the purification and preservation of their food. Cured pork products are vital to many ethnic groups cooking styles, including African-Americans and Eastern Europeans. Kosher meat can not be Kosher without salt. It is entirely dependent on salt for its purification. Without salty soy and fish sauces, there is no Chinese food, Japanese food, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Korean, etc., etc. What do these salt regulators have against Jewish and Asian people?
Isn't it racist to regulate a food so vital to a particular religious or ethnic group? And if these ingredients get an exemption then what's the point of the regulation to begin with?
Okay, the "racist" claim was just fun (or was it), my real beef with salt regulations are as follows. Let's be clear, compared to our pre-refridgeration days, we eat tiny amounts of salt and we need salt to survive.
My principle concern is these "regulations" are the camel's nose under the tent. Once they start banning salt in food industry products and restaurant food, what is to stop them from regulating the use of salt in our homes?
And who could go without salt. I would like to see that. I'd like to see someone go completely without salt for more than a week without some kind of bodily harm. No salt means no tofu or soy based products. No yogurt, no cheese, no processed dairy of any kind. No bread, no pasta, no cold breakfast cereals of any kind including granola. No pickles, no condiments (mayo, mustard, ketchup), no deli meats, certain vineagers, no ham, no bacon, no processed foods of any kind, no restaurant foods of any kind.
Basically you are looking at a diet of plain veggies, fruit, meat, and unproccessed carbs like baked potato or rice (no salt in the cooking water by the way).
Think that is doable? Then try to eat a Sushi dinner without salt. You can't eat the miso soup, nor ginger dressing on the salad, and no soy sauce or wasabi on the sushi. Oh and better make sure that sushi rice is unseasoned cause you can't have rice there either. Better stick with plain sashimi and some lettuce. Enjoy.
These anti-salt idiots can go without if they choose but they should stop forcing their crap on us. And that's the gist of it, isn't it. These salt regulations are designed to control us.
The funny thing is, I'm not crazy pro-salt either. But I worked in restaurants, in the kitchen, for years. I reviewed restaurants in college and I am an accomplished home chef. Yet, I tend to cook without as little salt as possible, discourage my children from eating (too much) salt, and do not purchase a lot of processed foods. You will find, however, that I have five different salts in my house - nearly all were purchased more than a year ago. I'm not anti-salt by any means but I am not a salt addict either.
To me, this attack on salt, is an example of politicians who are not experts impacting entire industries because of a few bogus lobbiests. Many of the anti-salt studies are funding by dubious groups. Groups that actively campaign for policies that would remove our choice of foods. Hypertension is not entirely salt's fault. There are genetic, lifestyle and even environmental links as well as a diet high in salt. If you have hypertension, you can choose to eat low sodium foods. There are plenty of products on the market for that.
But if these pols succeed in regulating salt, then it takes away the right to choose from all of us. My neighbor has very low blood pressure, he is concerned about this salt restrictions because he needs salt to keep his blood pressure up. His wife is a personal chef who could be put out of business if a salt regulation requires her to have her recipes testing for salt content.
There are so many impacts to this regulation attacking salt, when the simpliest solution would be to provide tax credits to food companies who provide a line of low-sodium foods. The market will decide if they want to purchase it and the food industry can adjust its ways accordingly.
Additionally, it is the personal responsibility of each human being to make good nutritional choices for their body and lifestyle. Just like the women in the early feminist movement who shouted "Keep Government Off My Body" during the abortion rights movement, I want the government both off my body and out of my pantry.
Finally, and as I mentioned above, I think we can all agree on the importance of personal responsibility AND that the more you know the better. I worry about forcing smaller businesses like family-owned restaurants and my friend the personal chef having to pay for their recipes to be analyzed for salt content because that would put them out of business. But once your business reaches a certain distribution point, it makes sense to let consumers know.
As for existing companies, that information has been there on the side of the box for decades. This is nanny-statism which can be traced back to the success of the tobacco lawsuits and is gaining boldness thanks to Obamacare. We are Americans and we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness whether that means healthy eating and jogging five miles a week or stuffing your face with hamburgers. It's your responsibilty to take care of yourself, not the State's.
Sunday Night Open Thread
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