This past week, the Food & Drug Administration held a hearing on whether to regulate salt as a food additive under federal law. The hearing was held in response to a petition from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The Washington Post reports:
A consumer group prodded the Food and Drug Administration yesterday to regulate salt as a food additive, arguing that excessive salt consumption by Americans may be responsible for more than 100,000 deaths a year.
The government has long placed salt in a "generally recognized as safe" or GRAS category, which grandfathers in a huge list of familiar food ingredients. But in an FDA hearing yesterday, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) urged the agency to enforce tougher regulations for sodium.
Doing so "lays the foundation for saving tens of thousands of lives per year," said CSPI Director Michael Jacobson in an interview after the hearing. It "just has tremendous potential to health and to cut health-care costs."
"After 25 years of inactivity, the FDA is taking the salt issue seriously," Jacobson said. "They're really gathering information . . . and getting an earful from all sides."
UPDATE: Katharine Van Tassel has more at BioLaw here. Among other things, she ponders whether revoking salt's GRAS status could have implications for sugar.