Should the Government Regulate Salt in Foods?

Readers share their thoughts.

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Michael Jacobson at the Center for Science in the Public Interest says FDA regulation of salt would save many lives; John Tate of the Campaign for Liberty argues it would violate the Constitution. Your feedback:

I do not want the government to control my salt intake. That is my business.

WILLIAM STRANG Madison, Wis.

Oh goody, the salt police! Just what we need from our government. One more academician or government bureaucrat, do-gooder nanny, trying to run the details of our lives. No, we do not need this regulation. From mandatory low-flush toilets to low-temperature, hot-water heaters in new homes, their silly rules run our lives enough already.

JACK GREGORY Anderson, S.C.

I am salt-sensitive. I read labels. I buy reduced-sodium foods. I do not eat fast food very often. All I want is information, and then I can make my own choice. I prefer to run my own life, and I do control the sodium I take in.

LESLIE BROW Yacolt, Wash.

Yes, high-sodium levels are dangerous, but when did governmental regulation of mundane, non-inherently dangerous items become such a commonplace trend? More and bigger warning signs at fast-food restaurants would increase public hype over sodium levels, pressuring the restaurants to reduce levels on their own. The government should focus on public awareness and education before jumping straight to outright regulation. 

NANCY STEWART Montgomery, Ala.

While we’re at it, let’s ban not only salt but the sports of rock climbing and motorcycle riding (with or without a helmet), activities many times more risky than overconsumption of salt. And by all means, establish an agency—call it the Ministry of Utopian Bliss—with authority to ban any food or other product, or any activity that poses a politically incorrect risk (or is otherwise simply annoying to the enlightened few).

WILLIAM BURFORD Midland, Texas

It seems incredible how far some people will go to invoke the Constitution. Unfortunately we, the consumers, have little choice when it comes to processed foods. The salt content in canned soups, for example, is enormous. I think that astute business managers could benefit from an advertising campaign that highlights the advantage of lower salt consumption. The public might select low-sodium products without government regulation.

GEORGE LOWY Silver Spring, Md.

Regulate salt, sugar, trans fats, calories, smoking, housing, banks, Wall Street, pensions, pay, taxes, property, toys in Happy Meals, the Internet. When will it stop?

RANDY MORGAN Iron River, Wis.

There is an alternative available in the supermarkets: potassium chloride. It is more expensive than sodium chloride salt, but in the bigger scheme of things, not a significant part of the food budget. I season with it regularly, instead of sodium salt. It tastes nearly the same. It is easy. We do not need the government to watch over our daily lives. We need to take individual responsibility.

JOHN WARD Lake Jackson, Texas