Monday, January 11, 2010

new york city launches effort to reduce salt content in packaged and restaurant foods

today the new york city health department announced participation in the "national salt reduction initiative" - a coalition of cities, states and health organizations attempting to get food manufacturers and restaurants to voluntarily reduce the amount of salt in their products. the goal is a 25% reduction in sodium content over the next five years.

here is an excerpt from the press release:

The New York City Health Department is coordinating a nationwide effort to prevent heart attacks and strokes by reducing the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant foods. Americans consume roughly twice the recommended limit of salt each day – causing widespread high blood pressure and placing millions at risk of heart attack and stroke. This is not a matter of choice. Only 11% of the sodium in our diets comes from our own saltshakers; nearly 80% is added to foods before they are sold.

as a card-carrying libertarian, i'd normally be against such a paternalistic government program. but i supported the city's efforts to ban smoking in public place, trans fats - and require the disclosure of calorie counts on menus. but reducing sodium intake is significant public health issue and is worthy of support. initially, the program is voluntary. but even if it ultimately become mandatory, i'd support it.

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