Social Question

MrItty's avatar

Should the government protect you from salt?

Asked by MrItty (17371points) March 15th, 2010

http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?Memo=Y&Summary=Y&Text=Y&bn=+A10129%09%09&default_fld=

A NYS Assemblyman, Felix Ortiz, has authored the above linked bill. It would ban the use of salt in prepration for all meals served in all restaurants in New York State. No, I’m not joking.

By far the most absurd and offensive part of this (IMO) is that Ortiz claims this bill will give us the option of whether or not to include salt in our meals (salt would still be available on the table, just not in the food). Apparently because we’re unable to tell the waitress when we order “No salt, please.”, and we need the government to do that for us.

So what do you think? Do you need your government to save you from the horrors of salt?

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127 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

This is just like banning trans fat or sodas or tobacco or what have you – some people aren’t aware of the amounts they’re consuming.

MrItty's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir and how does banning it inform people how much they’re using?

CMaz's avatar

Do you mean the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks?

jealoustome's avatar

This would be terrible for chefs who are working in fine dining establishments. I think there should be a limit on how much salt can be in a meal. The real problem is in meals that are made at chain and theme restaurants. A lot of those meals have insane amounts of sodium. But, an across the board salt ban is a bad idea.

marinelife's avatar

This is an example of well-meant legislation gone bad. We will jhave to eat a lot of bad restaurant food. Disclosing the amount of salt used is one thing, but banning it altogether? Ridiculous.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@MrItty It lets them put it on themselves – that way they see it, at least, but I don’t think it’ll mean they’ll know any better.

wundayatta's avatar

Surely it has no chance of passage?

Drawkward's avatar

Is that even an issue? I really thought that the issue with salt in foods is that there is too much in processed foods, not slower foods.

dpworkin's avatar

It depends. Is salt after me?

MrItty's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir We can already put it on ourselves. We are not incompetant.

Salt being used on top of the already-prepared food does not have the same effect as it being used in the creation of a meal. Order matters.

jealoustome's avatar

[I’m taking my comment out because it isn’t nice. :) ]

Facade's avatar

Since so many people are ignorant and uncaring, causing us to spend excess money on their medical care, yes. There should be a limit for the amount of added salt allowed in food. When I see something for sale at a store and it has 66% of salt you need in a DAY in that one food item, something is extremely wrong.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I doubt it has any chance of passage. Salt is the most basic flavoring, to take it away would wreck havoc on the already fragile economy from less people ordering tasty dishes. Tons of food have sodium in them without it being added, so it wouldn’t really eliminate the issue. Plus, salt (as well as the iodine they add) is actually very necessary for good health, just like vitamin C and B and calcium.

nebule's avatar

No I think it’s ridiculous… if they’re going to protect you from salt they should think about some of the other more harmful substances (tobacco) that they have absolutely no problem not protecting us from… pish

jfos's avatar

Is too much salt a problem? Yes.

Should a lot of people use less of it? Yes.

Should there be a state or federal ban on salt used in the preparation of food? No.

Likeradar's avatar

@Facade I agree with you that many people are ignorant, which is why I’m in favor of easier to read and more accessible labeling of what we’re putting in our bodies. But is not the government’s place to tell me that I have to order something with a normal amount seasoning if I want it, nor is it the government’s place to tell a restaurant how to prepare food as long as it’s done in a safe way.

Dog's avatar

It does have a chance of passing with this government.

My Dad is in kidney failure. He cannot have salt to his food. I am not mentioning this to say we should ban salt for him but to say that I have tasted his food and it is pretty bland and tasteless.

I would support a cap on amount of salt used- especially in fast food but not an outright ban.

Some foods are pre-made with huge amounts of salt so ordering it “without salt” is not a viable option.

But all that being said- I kind of twitch every time the Government talks about passing laws to protect me from myself. I think their time would be better spent on issues such as job loss etc.

Snarp's avatar

I think this is different from banning trans fat or tobacco. Trans fat is a harmful product that only improves shelf life, it can readily replaced with a healthier fat that actually improves flavor instead. It’s not something people would ever choose because it makes their food tastier, they only eat it because it’s put there to make life a little easier for the food producers and people don’t begin to know what it is or how bad it is. Tobacco is a product with no safe level of consumption and no benefits whatsoever, it’s a harmful drug that affects not just the user, but everyone around them. Salt on the other hand is an essential nutrient and a key component in cooking and adding it during the cooking process can create a different food than adding it after cooking. It is sadly overused in many chain restaurants, particularly those in which food is not prepared to order, but it sounds like this is going to far. That said, I haven’t read the text, and I wonder how specific the bill is and how well written. Does it include all sodium, or only NaCl as an ingredient?

ragingloli's avatar

Salt is an integral part of almost any kind of meal, and it needs time to bind with the other ingredients. Banning salt will ruin every single one of those dishes,make it taste like nothing and salting it at the table will not make it any better.
This is simply retarded.

jfos's avatar

I must admit, it would make ”freedom fries” a bit ironic.

Facade's avatar

@Likeradar But they do not do it safely at all. Restaurants over salt their food and hand out portions which are too large. Putting a little salt in the food and having salt available to people if they want it seems like a very good idea. Also, labels are not hard to read if people just read them…

ragingloli's avatar

@Facade
Salting food after it is prepared is not comparable to salting it while preparing it. When you cookd rice, pasta, potatoes, vegetables, marinated meat, etc, you salt it while you cook it so they get some flavour to it. If you salt it after it is cooked all you will get is a portion of bland pasta, rice, potatoes etc, plus the separate taste of salt, and that is just disgusting.

davidbetterman's avatar

Should the government protect you from salt?

Yes.

And pepper, too.

phillis's avatar

Awesome! I am most always paralyzed by indecision. I can’t wait for all my decisions to be regulated up to my eye teeth. MORE GOVERNMENT! Please and thank you!!

Facade's avatar

@ragingloli Right. I’m not against salt for flavor and health, but I am against having a shitload of salt in everyone’s food by default.

ragingloli's avatar

@Facade
Then make a law establishing a panel consisting of top chefs and health experts/doctors, which then creates reasonable legal limits on salt usage on specific dishes.
Just banning it is simply stupid.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

They should ban cooking with fats while they’re at it. Customers can add that at the table, too.

tranquilsea's avatar

For sit-down restaurants, I would be in favour of them listing just how much sodium is in each of their meals on the menu beside the description of the meal.

The real problem is just how much sodium is in virtually everything. It is really hard for the average consumer to gauge just how much sodium they are actually consuming.

England has a plan to lower the sodium added to foods over the next 5 or 10 years (I can’t remember which). If it was lowered slowly, then you would hardly notice the change.

I remember eating Kentucky Fried Chicken for the first time as a kid: I took one bit and not another because the amount of salt was overwhelming. Years later I could eat it no problem. And I don’t like salt that much. That is how salt can creep into your life.

Facade's avatar

@tranquilsea I think weaning people off excess salt is a good idea. I’ve done it personally because of my family history with illness. Now even the lightly salted chips and things are too salty for me.

Snarp's avatar

Well, if they’re going to post it, even posting the RDA along with it doesn’t give enough reference. There would have to be a comparison. This meal contains X milligrams of sodium. A similar meal and our top three competitors would contain Y, Z, and, A milligrams. The average of all similar meals across major chains would contain B milligrams, and if you made it at home with the Joy of Cooking recipe it would contain C milligrams. Or something like that.

mattbrowne's avatar

A lack of potassium and sodium ions interferes with proper brain function. It looks to me that the assemblyman was served food without any salt and he also forgot to add any. This can be quite dramatic especially during hot summers. Seriously, food should contain a minimum healthy amount of salt.

CMaz's avatar

In the “old days” everything was salted.

Salted fish, salted meats. How did they handle all that salt back then?

Nullo's avatar

Big government run amok!

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

This isn’t about the “government protect you from salt”. This is about the government telling you what you can and cannot eat. Why would anyone say they want the government out of their bedroom and then invite them into their kitchen?

Silhouette's avatar

Jesus Christ! The rampant stupidity in the American government scares the shit out of me. We are being ruled by fucking morons.

Disaster_Porn's avatar

@Silhouette What is worse no one cares to do anything about it. Morons rock my world on and on!

jealoustome's avatar

It doesn’t make sense to outlaw salt, but you have to consider the fact that a lot of people order something off the menu at a restaurant in good faith thinking that the item is not insanely unhealthy. Here’s some info on how much salt is healthy. And here’s the nutrition facts for Fire Roasted Marinara w/ Linguine at Old Chicago. The sodium is 117% of a reasonable daily value! I don’t think the average person realizes this when they order. I don’t think that a simple meal should put our health at risk, especially without our knowledge. Of, course banning salt is silly, but a warning similar to that on a pack of cigarettes should be delivered to your table when you order something like that, so you can make an informed decision.

davidbetterman's avatar

“In the “old days” everything was salted. Salted fish, salted meats. How did they handle all that salt back then?”

They died of heart failure (specifically left ventricular hypertrophy) and high blood pressure. Salt overdose was once a form of suicide in China.

Of course, before refrigerators, salting meat was a preservative.

How many types of food do you know of which has 0 salt already in it?

However, I do not need the government to save me from this horror.

silverfly's avatar

I want the government to protect me from everything. We wont be safe until we’re in confined metal containers. I want a tracking device installed in my brain, a CIA agent standing watch outside my door 24 hours a day and a satellite positioned directly over my house. Terrorists are everywhere and they’ve got salt guns! AHHHHH!

Silhouette's avatar

@Disaster_Porn I care and in my own lame assed way I try to do something. My governor, my congressmen, my senators. my vice president and my president get my letters all the time. I picket, I call and I make a pest of myself when I can.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Okay, I’m all for improving public health, but this is crazy. Removing salt totally would make food completely bland and tasteless, as someone else said. Plus, it would encourage people to pour on salt from the shakers, which might have them using more salt than they would have if the food was just seasoned correctly from the start.

Yes, it’s a run-on sentence, but you get my drift.

Trillian's avatar

I happen to like salt in my food. I salt my burger before I eat it. People who use that lame adage; “You shouldn’t salt your food before you taste it.” can suck it. I also put Splenda and creamer in my coffee before I taste it. Why? Because I already know what it’s going to taste like.
And while we’re at it, stop taking MSG out of everything! I like what MSG does for food, and when I saw a sign in a Chinese restaurant that said; “MSG free”, I bolted.
Hell, even Job in the bible knew you had to salt a boiled egg.
I strongly advise the government not to get between salt and the food I’m going to eat.

syzygy2600's avatar

Next thing they’ll be telling us we’re too stupid to wipe our asses by ourselves. It’s not my problem if some people are too stupid to eat properly, as the saying goes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. I mean, should we ban bread because some people can’t eat gluten? It’s ridiculous.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jealoustome: NO. There should not be a requirement that a warning be delivered to your table. If you want to request nutritional information feel free. If you don’t want to eat where nutritional information isn’t available feel free. I furthermore assert you lie about what the “average American doesn’t know”. They know the foods they eat out may contain more of some category including fat, calories, cholesterol, salt, carbohydrates, etc than the RDA recommends. If Americans really cared about these things they wouldn’t be so fat. They know the PC answer is to claim they care but the truth is they don’t care if it means they have to eat differently.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Dr_Dredd: “Removing salt totally would make food completely bland and tasteless” <== what does this matter? So if food wouldn’t be bland and tasteless without it then making it illegal would be a good idea? The reason to avoid this like the plague has nothing to do with food taste. It has to do with freedom and personal liberty.

Likeradar's avatar

@Facade I just got back and @ragingloli said what I was thinking. I’m not ignoring you. :)

HTDC's avatar

Nah, I’m well equipped to protect myself from salt, I don’t need government intervention. But if they did do it, they could also stop restaurants from putting fat in our food, that I can see making a difference.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Trillian: Lots of people don’t want the government getting between them and their food yet they still vote for big government. It is amazing how people fail to make the link between big government and government controlling every aspect of their daily lives.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@HTDC: You are well equipped to protect yourself from salt but if you are a Democrat you have to think about how stupid and ignorant Americans are and then vote for what would be in their “best interest”.

jealoustome's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Once again you’ve written your response in such a rude manner that I cannot take you seriously. Calling me a liar is not a good way to have a discussion. I agree that personal responsibility is an important part of this issue, but I’m not going to have a reasoned discussion with someone who is not able to.

Trillian's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Really? I’ve never seen “big government” vs. “small government” on any ballot. Would it be too much trouble for you to address people like you wanted to have a conversation rather than an argument?

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jealoustome: I found your statement INSULTING about how “average Americans” need a warning label delivered to their table. Just how stupid is the “average American” in your opinion?

Snarp's avatar

Nearly half of all Americans have below average intelligence.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@jealoustome I agree (most of the time) that @malevolentbutticklish is a prickly son of a bitch (I taught him everything I could, but some things he seems to have picked up on his own), but I don’t see any rudeness in his response to you. Perhaps you took issue with his assertion that “you lie?” I would—but I think he may just be uncomfortably (for you) close to the truth.

What are you seeing?

And, @malevolentbutticklish, my opinion of the intelligence of the “average American” is not overly high—after all, we keep electing these dolts.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Trillian: If you have never seen “big government” vs. “small government” on any ballot you need to know that on the ballot “big government” is abbreviated D after the candidates name while “[comparatively] small government” has an R. True small government has an “L” but is not always available as a voting option.

Snarp's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish You make a serious mistake if you believe that Republicans are any less big government than Democrats. They just prefer their big government to set up shop inside the phone company to keep tabs on your phone calls.

jfos's avatar

@Snarp Brilliantly worded.

Ron_C's avatar

It’s funny, the government wants to protect you from salt, sugar, and fat but is not willing to support health insurance.

jealoustome's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish I was going to let this go, but I couldn’t because you misquoted me. I said “average person” not “average American.” You should get your facts straight before you get “INSULT[ED].” And, just so you know, I consider myself an average person who didn’t realize, until researching, that eating half an appetizer, a salad and an entree at Old Chicago would be over the RDA of salt for two days.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jealoustome: It is not believable that you have totally ignored the nutrition labels on all the food you purchased over your life. In many states they are posted at fast food establishments in plain view. It is not believable that you thought food without nutrition labels contained any less salt than the food with nutrition labels. The percent RDA is right there in plain site. It is no more believable than someone smoking to say they never noticed the side of the package. Would you call that smoker a liar?

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Ron_C: The only congressman who are “against insurance” are those that want to do away with insurance in favor of a government run health-care or to place restrictions on insurance companies.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Snarp: Really? “The Obama administration fell in line with the Bush administration Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and eavesdrop on Americans without warrants.” <== http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/22/obama-sides-with-bush-in_n_160170.html Looks like to me the only difference is the amount of media attention Obama gets for domestic spying vs the amount Bush got.

Ron_C's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish boy, you certainly have that backwards!

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@CyanoticWasp: Thank you for your response. In it you point out who the average American elects. As bad as our elected officials are they, on the whole, are not as bad as elsewhere. This doesn’t mean our elected officials are not dolts… only that we could certainly have worse.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Ron_C: And what if the type of insurance I prefer is to be self-insured through savings? How does Obama intend to accommodate the self-insured?

mrentropy's avatar

This was my point about the non-smoking thing. It’s great, until they hit upon something that you don’t like. There are probably a bunch of people who have health and heart issues that are all for this and think it’s a good idea.

Likeradar's avatar

@mrentropy But can’t those people ask that their food be prepared with minimal or no salt? There’s no such thing as second-hand-salt…

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Likeradar: What are you talking about? Even if there were no laws regarding smoking you could select to frequent businesses which did not allow it. You could even open your own smoke-free business. You could choose a non-smoking wife, etc.

Likeradar's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Deep breath :). I was making the point that comparing salt in food to smoke isn’t a fair comparison. I can’t choose a wife, smoking or otherwise, as I’m a straight female.

mrentropy's avatar

@Likeradar Sure. Have you ever ordered something in a restaurant and had it cooked wrong or got the wrong meal?

If you felt that it was imperative that you not have salt in your meal for medical reasons and ordered something without salt, what would happen if your ticket got mixed up with someone else’s, or the cook forgot and cooked with salt anyway?

This way it’s safer. Nobody gets it, no mix up.

mrentropy's avatar

And I’m not comparing smoking to salting. I’m saying that making laws isn’t always the best way to go. And once they start making laws, innocent and healthy laws, it will just get worse.

Likeradar's avatar

@mrentropy Ah, got ya. And I agree with you, I think.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Likeradar: I am glad to see you are a straight female. You could select a non-smoking husband. Consider having lots of children.

Likeradar's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish I have no idea what you’re talking about.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Likeradar: A few minutes ago you said “I can’t choose a wife, smoking or otherwise, as I’m a straight female.” in response to my comment which included that you can choose a non-smoking wife.

Likeradar's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish The children comment… meh, whatever. I don’t care.

Pazza's avatar

Hell yes!
They might as well, pretty soon the only thing left for the governments to save us from will be themselves.

oh, and the aliens!.....
and I don’t mean the Mexicans!....

Oh, and by the way (here comes the broken record!), statutes only apply to commercial entities, and not to human beings unless they consent to be governed.

Statutes aren’t law, they are given the force of law by consent of the governed.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, statutes are just as easy to delete as they are to create.

phillis's avatar

@Pazza exactly! That’s why they’re removing bullets off the shelves instead of taking guns out of our hands.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, I all for government forcing big corporations to use caution in the food they foist on an uninformed public.

cockswain's avatar

Sure, excessive salt causes medical problems our society doesn’t need.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@YARNLADY your statement is at odds with the Q… and yet “you agree?”

@cockswain cars kill and maim, too, so we should also ban them.

YARNLADY's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Should the government protect you from salt? I say yes Where is the ‘at odds?

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@CyanoticWasp: I believe @cockswain supports Algore who said in his book that the combustion engine is the greatest threat. They would love to ban cars to whatever extent is possible but incrementalism doesn’t allow them to do it just yet.

Pazza's avatar

How much salt is excessive salt?
You sweat salt, and you piss salt.
Like all water soluble vitamins, your body gets rid of the excess.
So really, how much salt is too much?

If you ingest more than you can excrete then your putting your body in danger but that’s only if you keep your salt levels at an intolerably high level for long periods, so I don’t see why going to a restaurant once a week for a treat is a problem the feds have to save you from.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Pazza: How much salt is excessive apparently is ANY AT ALL WHATSOEVER as long as it is added during food prep in a restaurant. A low-salt meal may contain “excessive” salt so long as whatever salt there is was added. A high salt meal may not contain excessive salt. When the government says anything you have to translate the double-speak.

mattbrowne's avatar

Even tap water contains salt. It has to. Salt-free water in our guts would suck out the salt of the rest of our bodies. The scientific process is called osmosis. But since some of the American politicians have declared war on science, ridiculous proposals are no surprise. It totally makes sense to come up with recommendations for maximum healthy salt levels. Excessive salt consumption can be dangerous. But going to the other extreme is equally dangerous. Same for the rest of our food, by the way. Like no fat or no carbs or no high-glycemic carbs or no sweeteners or no whatelse. Dangerous nocebo effects can be the result of fanaticism. Gee, I just swallowed 50 grams of sucrose. Will I die early? You will. But the cause is undue anxiety.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@YARNLADY the text of the Q (not the “tag line Q”) was about banning salt from the cooking process in restaurants.

In any case, the notion of government “protecting” us from the non-poisonous things in our environment (including salt and carbon dioxide) is preposterous, silly, stupid… and not covered by any reasonable interpretation of the federal or state constitutions. Support this kind of nonsense and you get the government you deserve: one which lets you do nothing without a permit and “asking permission”.

mrentropy's avatar

@CyanoticWasp And the rest of us get a country we don’t deserve. Which is why I’d appreciate it if quite a lot of people moved on to other countries where they already do things like this. It’s better for everyone.

cockswain's avatar

What’s the big deal if they put less salt in processed foods? We’ve grown accustomed to the taste, and it’s terrible for us. Why do some want to proclaim it’s a trampling of liberties when we’ll just have access to healthier foods when we don’t feel like cooking?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@cockswain “the big deal” is using the hammer of government and law (and associated police and other enforcement actions) to “take care of us”. I, for one, am tired of being told to “Click it or ticket” (I buckle up because it’s smart, not because it’s the law), to stop smoking, to lose weight, to eat right, etc.

I agree with you that processed foods have too much salt, so for that reason I seldom buy or use them. But it should be up to an individual. Salt is not poison.

I like to do what is right for me simply because it’s right for me. Mostly I prefer to make my own choices.

mrentropy's avatar

I’m with @CyanoticWasp. If you want less salt read labels and ask the wait staff to hold the spice. You don’t need laws and legislation to force everyone to do what you think is a good idea. This is even scarier than the no smoking laws; at least with those I can almost come up with a sympathetic view.

I just don’t understand why people are so willing to hand everything over to the government to take care of them. I can understand laws to make sure the information is divulged but you can’t force everyone to be healthy.

Honestly, all these seem like an agenda from the insurance companies. It’s not bad enough that they gamble with your life and your health. Or it’s a double agenda. The insurance companies get to keep more money because they don’t pay out as much and the government wins because they can keep passing stupid laws and get us used to it so we don’t start complaining when the big laws start to get passed.

Conspiracy theory? Sure, why not. But it doesn’t seem that far fetched to me.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@mrentropy actually, I could accept the concept of some “regulation” by one’s insurance company / companies. For example, in exchange for lower premiums on life insurance, I would accept a stipulation that if I’m killed in an auto accident while not wearing a seat belt, for example, then the payout would be only 75% (or some other agreed-upon number).

I’m also solidly behind health insurance premiums based on lifestyle, activity or employment choices—to the extent that we’re talking about freely-made choices, such as over-consumption of alcohol, tobacco, drugs… or even fats, sugars and salt—or employment and leisure time activities such as motorcycle riding, extreme sports, etc. If we get away from the “pass a law” mentality there is no end to the types of agreements we can make between consenting adults willing to bargain and contract. And for those who are unwilling to bargain and contract in a free market, there’s a place for them, too.

Disaster_Porn's avatar

They really should if only they knew the damage I was doing out there with my salt shakers, if only…..

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

Why do people believe restaurants won’t make up for the taste deficiency with more fat, more sugar, richer foods, MSG, or higher-salt ingredients? Is there even any evidence the resulting food wouldn’t turn out worse for our health? Many individuals do not have high blood pressure and may not be adversely affected by the current sodium intake levels. These same people may be hurt by the alternatives such as higher-fat.

Snarp's avatar

You know, all sorts of crazy bills get produced at the state level, and if you live in NY state then you have every right to let your state representatives know that you oppose this. But making this out to be the strategy of all liberals or all Democrats, getting angry about it, ranting on and on about slippery slopes and what not, is kind of pointless given that this is a newly introduced bill that may very well go nowhere. This is evidence of the thinking of 2 New York state assemblymen, not of all of New York, all of New York state government, all Democrats, all liberals, or anyone else. This is two people, it’s not representative of anything larger. It’s also only tangentially related, and not in the least any kind of natural consequence of laws against tobacco or trans fats. Even if these two aren’t, the majority of people are capable of making the distinction among these things. Well, except for some people here who seem to think that banning public smoking is somehow related to banning salt in restaurants.

cockswain's avatar

I didn’t read the original question well enough, just the tagline. I think banning chefs from using salt is unwise, as salt is an important ingredient for crafting the taste of the food. I view great chefs as artists, so this ban would be akin to banning Bob Ross from using VanDyke brown. HOWEVER, my problem is with salt content of processed foods in general, and not really in fine restaurants. People eat fast food in our culture and that will not change. What could change would be the health quality of that food. Dog food would taste great with enough salt (like Taco Bell’s grade F meat; delicious!). So we’re throwing excessive amounts of salt on it because it would taste disgusting otherwise. So now we’re putting two unhealthy things in our body. Those who make the argument that we all have a choice to read the nutrition label and eat what we want aren’t considering other relevant factors, namely availability and price of healthier alternatives. There is zero question that it appears to be a better value to eat a something off the 99 cent value menu vs eating a pound of broccoli you have to prepare yourself. While you could argue people can choose to plan their meals better (which I completely agree), if you are busy or lazy you will sometimes eat fast food. There is no reason that food can’t have half or a quarter of it’s current salt content. Perhaps some taste test showed the higher salt Big Mac or KFC recipe was preferred by a high enough percentage of people to warrant adding the extra salt b/c it would yield more dollars in sales than cost of salt. Maybe that decision made sense 20,30, or 50 years ago, but given the level of national addiction to fast food/processed foods, I think our society can safely and responsibly lower salt contents across the board and have minimal impact on fast/processed food sales. I make that last statement without fact, just guessing. I guess I’d like to have two Big Macs or Whoppers with different salt levels to see if I can tell. But the cost of high salt consumption on our society as a whole is terrible. So to me it just seems socially responsible to lower salt consumption because we’ll save huge dollars on the health related issues. To argue we should just not eat the bad stuff would mean we’d have to give up going to places like Chili’s, Applebees, TGIF, Old Chicago, Perkins, etc…. Our nation is clearly obese and we don’t have the discipline to stop. Why not at least plug one hole in the dam by having the FDA reduce salt? This isn’t trampling our freedoms, just making it easier to be healthier. Occasionally I get on a super-health kick, and without meticulous planning I can’t eat healthy. Why the hell wouldn’t you just want more healthy foods readily available? Are you worried that Pizza Hut won’t be as good? That after eating a bucket of KFC you won’t get to wake up in the middle of the night and drink 5 glasses of water?

mrentropy's avatar

Falls are the number one cause of accidental death in the home. Should we pass a law that requires that all bathtubs have “grab” bars?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@mrentropy that only covers a few falls. Maybe we should mandate that ceilings have to be no more than 4’ high. Forget comfort; we’re talking about people’s lives here!

Perhaps we can settle for full safety harnesses and mandatory helmet laws—for inside and outside your house.

mrentropy's avatar

@CyanoticWasp And rubber padded carpets.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@mrentropy not just rubber, since that exploits third-world workers. “Fair Trade™” rubber.

cockswain's avatar

So that’s the extent of how you’ll address the points of my argument? Because there are other sources of harm in the world, we shouldn’t worry about salt content? Are you saying because fast food is ‘comfort food’ we shouldn’t make a reasonable attempt to make it healthier? Do you want to discuss it, or have you made up your mind? We outlaw drunk driving because of harm to health and safety. This just seems like a simple solution to a health problem. Do gov’t efforts to reducing externalities with effluent taxes, like pollutants in water or air, impinge on the company’s freedom, and then by extension our liberties?

cockswain's avatar

Is exploiting third world workers also silly, because it tramples our rights to cheaper rubber?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@cockswain what we’re saying is that government is a hammer. A big, expensive, unwieldy and indiscriminate hammer. Its force should be used very sparingly.

I think we know that we’re pissing into the wind here. People with ideas like yours (well-meaning and not-so-bad ideas, all in all) love to make laws to “make it so”.

mrentropy's avatar

I’m just saying that I don’t think the answer to everything is to make a law about it. Eventually the laws will become more restrictive, there will be precedent, and then we’ll be stuck under the guise of “making ourselves healthy.”

There’s a difference between a company dumping toxic waste into your water table versus reading a label or asking someone about the salt content of a meal. For that matter, there’s a difference between being run down by a drunk driver versus using a salt shaker.

I like to have a choice in my life, even if that choice may not be the healthiest for me. I really don’t know how much simpler to say that I don’t think it’s the governments job to legislate every aspect of my life. I guess @CyanoticWasp is saying it better than I am.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@CyanoticWasp: I had an OSHA guy riding by who stopped to yell at me about not having a harness on while I was on the roof. I called the police and kept him yelling at me until they got there. The police ticketed him for illegally parking. I want the government out of my bedroom, out of my kitchen, out of my house, and well off my property. OSHA gets to harass people just trying to get their job done all day long, legally. Why do they need to harass home-owners in their spare time?

YARNLADY's avatar

In a perfect world, people would only do things that are in their own best interest, and the government could stick to the simple things they are designed for. Unfortunately, we do not live in a world ruled by personal responsibility.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@CyanoticWasp If we get away from the “pass a law” mentality there is no end to the types of agreements we can make between consenting adults willing to bargain and contract.

The problem with that, at least with respect to the health insurance companies, is that the deck is stacked in their favor. They’ve got the clout (heck, they even have an anti-trust exemption); I’m not sure how effective “bargaining” with them would be.

That being said, NYS politics sucks.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Dr_Dredd your comments are noted. But I think that if the whole model changed from “corporate contracting with health insurance companies” to an “individual” model (the same way that most of us purchase auto, homeowner and life insurance) then the whole market would change. Right now, my employer is the health insurance company’s “client” or “customer” and I’m just an expense, to be dealt with in the most expeditious (and cheapest) way possible.

I think most people underestimate how powerful we really are as individual consumers; we’ve driven markets “our way” ever since WW II, and I see no reason why that wouldn’t still work in this instance. Thanks for your comments, though.

Pazza's avatar

Processed food would escape this bill I take it, as they tell you on the label how much salt is in it.

Though people generally don’t read the labels do they, so lets get the government to inject everyone once a week with a mandatory chemical cock’tale that makes them throw up if they eat too much salt.

You know, for their own safety!
You know, because the public aren’t clever enough to do it themselves!
You know, because the government has your best interests at heart, because it loves you! and its not their job, but it has a responsibility to, because it loves you!

Tell you what, lets ban all extreme sports for the very same reason.
Lets ban flying because you might die
And driving
And riding a bike
And skipping ropes
And horse riding
And skateboarding

OMFG, the list is endless. Plastic patriots want the government to step in because they too fuckin lazy and stupid to do the job they’re supposed to do. Teach their children how to live healthy, to cook, to clean, to hunt, to protect, to respect.

I look at these plastic patriots, they seem to hold up Obama on the highest cloud, he’s becoming the next friggin Jesus, the new savour of mankind.

All hail King OBAMA!

These people make me sick. If you had royalty you’d bow to their every whim, you wouldn’t realise what a true sovereign representative is for, TO REPRESENT YOUR SOVEREIGNTY!

Kings and Queens are servants and swear an oath to protect the sovereigns inalienable rights and freedoms, that includes the right to ingest copious amounts of salt AND FUCKIN KILL YOURSELF!

what, you mean I can go to any gun store, buy a hand gun and one round, put it in my mouth and blow the brains in my skull through the back of my head no questions asked, but woe betide me eating too much fuckin salt!

and why ot knock down the wall I keep bangin my head against!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Pazza… my kinda dork.

Pazza's avatar

Was that at me cockhead. lol

jealoustome's avatar

I find a silly contradiction throughout this thread. Nutrition labels are government mandated consumer protection. Yet, some say (more or less,) ” Take personal responsibility! Less government protection! Read nutrition labels!”

That is like saying, “Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare.”

MrItty's avatar

@jealoustome no, it’s not. At all.

Government wanting to warn us about what we’re eating is 100% wonderful. Government mandating what we’re allowed to eat, or how much we’re allowed to eat of it, is an entirely different thing.

jealoustome's avatar

@MrItty Yes. Previously, I agreed that the idea of the salt ban was silly and that a warning should be provided to restaurant customers instead. I was rebuked and reminded that knowledge is available in the form of nutrition labels, therefore, government should stay out of this issue.

Pazza's avatar

@jealoustome
Fair point.
But, just how far is too far.
What’s that saying about, give a man some bread and he’ll feed himself for a day, but teach him how to cook, and he’ll feed himself for a lifetime.

The government is corporately owned, the public school system is owned ultimately by the same parent corporation, as are the supermarkets that you buy food from.

So by that token, teach an individual the life skills he/she really needs to survive without the ‘system’, and they won’t need the ‘system’, and most probably won’t use it, thus the ‘system’ will loose the only thing it really has, power/control.

This is the same reason the oil companies spend tens of millions in R&D for new battery technology, so that they can patent it, and then bury the patent.

A corporation is an artificial entity that by the rules laid out by commerce can only behave like a sociopath, and it has only one aim, to survive.

Before we had ‘limited liability corporations’ we had companies, these companies were owned by ultimately one individual, or a group of individuals who were fully liable under common law for the outcome/consequences of their companies.

Now we have corporations which have no loyalty to human beings, and have ‘limited liability’ when things go tits-up, when they do go tits-up, generaly, unless theres a scapegoat/patsy to take the fall, the corporation is a fiction, and is immune to common law, you can’t send a corporation to jail, the only recourse you have is to dissolve it, where by it just changes its NAME and starts up again and the damage is done.

Ultimately, corporations seem to have more rights and freedoms than human beings, thus human beings always come second to monetary gain.

The ‘system’ has to change, and its the banksters who run the ‘system’, they run commerce, and everyone who is born, is born into, and brought up by the ‘system’.

The trouble is, the ‘system’ could well crash leaving everyone without the true life skills to look after themselves and their family. Ultimately, isn’t that the whole goal in life, to be free prosperous and happy?

America had, and still does have the best sovereign representative the world has ever seen, a piece of paper, with no ego, no power other than that bestowed on it by ‘we the people’, and it can’t be corrupted. That’s why the PERSON was invented, to bypass the constitution and contract the people to the ‘system’ such to the point now, where almost the entire globe is in bondage to the IMF and World bank.

I recently downloaded a copy of ‘Black’s Law Sixth Edition. See for yourself:

PERSON: In general usage, a human being (ie, natural person), though by statute term may include labour organisations, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees in bankruptcy or receivers.

Now, I hear you say ‘may’ include by statute, but what you need to understand, is that black’s law is written in the language of the ‘Law Society’ and the language of said society is not English, it is a little known language called legalese which is basically English, but some of the important words have slightly different meanings ie:

may is synonymous with must, so the above text actually reads:

though by statute term must include corporations

term = person so,

though by statute person must include corporations

If you look at any statue, it will read any PERSON (corporation), not NATURAL PERSON (human being). Statutes are rules for corporations they only apply to human beings if you consent to be governed by acting as a person.

Also if you look up THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA you will see that it is not a geographical area, but a registered corporation with a puppet at the helm with no qualifications other than how to snort cocaine with a rent-boy in the back of a limo, a salesman who’s primary function is to sell legislation to the corporate slaves, slaves who have abandoned their rights and freedoms guaranteed to them by their constitution.

So if people don’t wake up and see just how dangerous this legislation is, soon they’l be passing legislation that forces:
All PERSONS to be chipped.
All PERSONS to be mandatory vaccinated.
All PERSONS out of work to be forced into work labour camps to pay for their benefits
All PERSONS to be vaccinated and chipped to validate said vaccination in the case of a pandemic (that legislation is apparently all ready to be applied!)
All PERSONS to require a licence to get pregnant.

If you think that last ones ridicules, you already need a licence to get married!

cockswain's avatar

“The government is corporately owned”, and you build the rest of your argument from there, equating evils of corporate greed with gov’t. While I generally agree with your take on corporations, and can’t deny gov’t officials that have been corrupted by corporate money, I don’t think you can build a sound argument with a debatable premise like “gov’t = corporations.”

Back to salt, people appear to me to be committing the slippery slope fallacy on this one, saying if we allow the gov’t to have control over this, the control will unendingly spread to every facet of our lives, to the notion of King Obama. That doesn’t seem rational to me. This is the perfect thing for the government to tackle, as there really isn’t a down side to screwing it up, and a tremendous potential health cost savings if they get it right. Further, the argument that gov’t shouldn’t remove choices from our lives may be valid in some cases, but in this case I don’t actually have a choice when I’m on the go to eat low salt food. Mandating lower salt content of many/all processed foods would at least provide me some options. Again, does anyone like the feeling of eating KFC then needing to drink lots of water later? Would you actually be hurt by having less salty options?

Finally, arguing that if we outlaw salt we should outlaw any dangerous activity is not a strong analogy. Other dangerous activities that result in harm don’t generally result in long-term diseases that drag out a long term toll on society. Even though you can argue about the health impacts of broken limbs or even paralysis, those problems aren’t nearly as widespread as the diabetes epidemic coming our way.

Pazza's avatar

@cockswain
I fully understand all your points, but at the end of the day I didn’t say,
gov’t = corporations

I said,
the American government is a registered corporation.

The English government is a registered corporation, all the local councils, hospitals, schools and police stations are registered corporations.

We the people don’t own anything anymore, or at least it would appear.

Okay, this is how ridiculous the situation is, the government could pass legislation tomorrow that says: every PERSON walking the left hand footpath on the last day of the month must wear pink speedos, on their head.

And they could fine you for it legally & lawfully.

Now baring that in mind, some councils across the UK have enacted legislation that allows said councils to fine an PERSON for leaving their bin out on a day other than collection day. Does that sound reasonable to you?

The excuse they give is ‘health and safety’, they claim that its in the public’s best interests to fine these PERSONS because it stops CRIMINALS setting fire to the bins and having to send a fire engine to put out a bin fire risking the lives of someone who may or may not be trapped in a burning house.

Now if you said to someone in the 1950’s that they were going to be punished for leaving their bin out in the wrong day, there would have been an immediate uprising.

So its not that the legislation is necessarily a bad thing, its just that:
1 – its treating the symptom and not providing a cure
2 – its de-sensitising the public to more and more ridiculous rules that may or may not follow.

How many times do you think people like yourself in china kept saying the same things your saying?

It will only take one national emergency right now with the executive powers in place, to close down the democratic processes in your country, declare martial law, and become a police state.

Where as the cure for this salt bravado is simply education. Teaching kids in schools how to prepare and cook food correctly, how to source good quality food from the local stores, and what are and are not nutritious foods.

Instead we teach them how to get into debt as soon as they graduate, no, before they graduate.

Do you think that is by design, or just a system gone wayward?

And, diabetes and obesity and caused by restaurants (in my humble uneducated opinion), neither does salt cause them.

Do you think its funny how, the same system that will allow fines to be imposed on restaurants for using salt also allows rediculous amounts of aspartame (from good’ole Mr Cheney) to be put into every conceivable food?

Did you also know that aspartame, when ingested breaks down with quite a high percentage of the original volume to Formaldehyde

So formaldehyde safe, salt not safe? you do the math.

Ron_C's avatar

I think that each law and proposed law should have a “ridiculousness quotient” assigned by some disinterested third party. Sort of like the GAO looks at the cost of each law and benefit that is proposed as law. That was salt law and bicycle helmet laws for adults could be looked at objectively before they are passed. There come a point where adults should be allowed to risk their lives as they wish.

Like I said in a previous answer, I wish the government would follow the rules and regulations that are already on the books, like gun, finance, and border regulations. They don’t need to beg digging in the the minutiae of our lives.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@CyanoticWasp @Dr_Dredd: “Right now, my employer is the health insurance company’s “client” or “customer” and I’m just an expense, to be dealt with in the most expeditious (and cheapest) way possible.” <== this is a key point. At least companies want to get you a good health-insurance plan because otherwise new recruits could choose to go elsewhere, moral, etc. With the government in charge the incentives are all wrong. Even with individual health plans the incentives are not as direct as a cash payer. Only cash payers will always receive the best and most cost-efficient service. This is why I advocate a new type of health insurance in which the health insurance does not pay your medical bills—at all ever. Instead the insurance would pay you a fixed amount or at a fixed rate per diagnosed illness. This way the customer gets to keep any money not spent on treatment. Now the customer both has money to pay for the illness and is still incentivised to make rational spending decisions.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish That would be like the DRGs (diagnosis-related groups) that hospitals use. If someone is admitted with pneumonia, they fall into a certain DRG. The hospital gets a set amount of money and no more. If the patient develops complications and needs to stay extra days, too bad. The hospitals eat the cost. That’s why you see people being shoved out of the hospital hours after surgery or delivering a baby. Can’t go over the DRG!

A person can make “rational spending decisions” and still be blindsided by a medical problem. IMHO, that’s why we need insurance.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Dr_Dredd: A cash payer would never suffer from the DRG problem since they do not have a fixed rate per DRG. The new plan does not allow me to continue as a cash payer but instead forces me to get health insurance.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish But you just said: “Instead the insurance would pay you a fixed amount or at a fixed rate per diagnosed illness.” How is that not like a DRG?

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Dr_Dredd: There is a HUGE GIGANTIC difference. The difference is that the payment is to the patient NOT the hospital. The hospital is paid $0 from the insurance. From their perspective they simply have a new cash payer.

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