Thursday, February 24, 2005

Nannies to the Rescue!

Just a couple of days ago I praised the FDA for allowing people to make their own decisions regarding Cox-2 inhibitor pain killers. Evidently, some people would like the FDA to take an opposite tack, to create more regulation in order to protect "the public" from the dangers of excess salt consumption. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has filed suit to force the FDA to make a statement as to the safety of salt in food.

The name "Center for Science in the Public Interest" borders on oxymoron. Anything with the words "Public Interest" in it's name will inevitably have an agenda, and agendas are antithetical to good science. Agendas create a "right" answer, prior to evidence being collected. Any evidence that is collected will be viewed through a prism.

The agenda in this case is clear. While the lawsuit is intended to force the FDA's hand at releasing a study, it is clear that the CSPI has established what is the correct answer.

The CSPI says that packaged food nutrition labels have failed to reduce Americans’ sodium intake to recommended levels, and that cutting the nation’s sodium intake could substantially reduce the incidence of health problems associated with high blood pressure.

“Those innocent-looking white crystals are causing tens of thousands of premature deaths every year,” Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, the group’s executive director, told reporters Thursday.

Just for the sake of argument, what would happen if the FDA were to say that salt does not need to be regulated? Somehow I don't think that the FDA's word would be sufficient for the CSPI all of a sudden.

Secondly, the CSPI has stated in this article that it is the responsibility of food providers to limit the salt intake of their consumers. They seem to be missing something here, namely the consumer's decision. Who really thinks that people don't know that too much salt is a bad thing, or that fast food isn't good for them for a variety of reasons? The main reason that nutrition labeling hasn't been completely effective is that most people aren't completely interested in their salt intake. I know this is the heartless avenue of libertarianism, but let people reap what they sow. Fail to take care of your health, and you get poor health as a result.

So to the CSPI, thanks for your concern, but, please, butt the hell out of my life.

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