Skip to comments.Misguided FDA Food Regulations Will Hike Costs, Not Safety
Posted on 01/30/2012 10:31:50 AM PST by Sopater
This year will mark another push for aggressive food regulation at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On tap, salt regulations and industrywide regulations dictating which foods can be advertised on television.
In October 2011, the FDA announced in the Federal Register that it would begin accepting comments on approaches to reducing sodium consumption. The announcement cited 2005 medical studies findings that excess sodium consumption is a contributory factor in the development of hypertension. Yet studies conducted subsequent to that 2005 study came to different conclusions.
For instance, in 2006, the American Journal of Medicine published a study of 78 million Americans. It found that the more sodium people ate, the less likely they were to die from heart disease. In 2007, a study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology found no association between urinary sodium levels and the risk of coronary vascular disease or death. Most recently, in 2011, researchers in the United Kingdom reviewed data from seven studies with more than 6,200 participants who reduced their salt intake. The results showed that while eating less salt did lower blood pressure, it did not reduce the risk of dying or of having heart disease.
Even the relationship between salt and hypertension has been questioned. A recent study published in the science journal Nature suggests genetics, not diet, is the major contributor to hypertension. Another study in 2011 suggested that obesity, not salt, determines an individuals blood pressure. Clearly, the science is not settled on salt. Therefore, individualsnot government regulatorsneed to make decisions about their own diets.
The FDAs call for regulation also suggests that the food industry isnt responding to consumer demand for lower sodium food products. This simply isnt true. From potato chips to tomato sauce, consumers can choose a variety of low-salt and even no-salt items. In other words, the market is working to meet the health needs of the American consumer.
The FDA is also interested in regulating how the food industry advertises its food products. Reducing childhood obesity is a top priority for the Obama Administration, and regulating how food is marketed to children is one method the administration feels will accomplish this goal.
In the spring of 2011, an interagency working group made up of four federal agencies (including the FDA) issued recommendations on what food products can be advertised on television during childrens programming.
Many viewed this regulation as unnecessary because food advertising during childrens programs has already declined 50 percent between 2004 and 2010. In addition, 17 of the leading food companies (which represent more than three-quarters of the products advertised to children under 12) have signed the Childrens Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative pledge to only advertise healthy foods.
Despite these voluntary efforts on the part of industry, the working group developed a set of extremely stringent nutrition principles under which a food must fit in order to be allowed to advertise. Yet nearly every type of food a child might enjoy (even foods parents generally consider healthy) failed to meet these new guidelines. Items like milk, cheese, crackers, yogurt, bottled water, and canned soups would have been banned from television advertising.
Responding to outcry from the food industry (and consumers), Congress included a provision in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 requiring the working group to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of its proposed regulations. While this news was met with some relief by the food industry, the FDA will still likely pursue some form of advertising regulations on food manufacturers in 2012.
Those advocating regulations on the food industryon specific ingredients and marketingbelieve these measures will result in healthier Americans. Yet it is doubtful that they will impact anyones real food choices. Instead they will hike food costs as companies work to satisfy government regulators by overhauling their products.
In general, I agree. Too much of the “safety police” mentality. I must applaud the FDA in one area, though. I’m a celiac, as are two of my three brothers, and two (so far) of my five kids. I do applaud the FDA as far the regs go that ensure that I can tell when wheat, barley or rye products are in something I might otherwise buy. So, as far as the gluten-free or lack thereof contents listings go, great, that helps me a lot. But on the other hand, they (the FDA) need to cease attempts to lecture or otherwise restrict people above the age of majority buying what foods they wish.
It's going to take a Constitutional Convention to regain our freedom. We are way to far over the cliff to fight all the bureaucracies and all the people that are running our lives and earning very comfortable livings with our money.
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You’re ruining french fries for a lot of people... :-)
So, they want to limit or do away with salt in food??
It’s bad enough now that I have to add extra salt to all my food. I have “low” blood pressure and the only med is salt to raise my bp. Of course, I guess I could go to a lib website to get my bp up, but I hate those sites.
The FDA really doesn’t care about safety anymore. They are intent on ruling according to old wive’s tales, superstition and witchcraft.
“In general, I agree. Too much of the safety police mentality. I must applaud the FDA in one area, though. Im a celiac, as are two of my three brothers, and two (so far) of my five kids. I do applaud the FDA as far the regs go that ensure that I can tell when wheat, barley or rye products are in something I might otherwise buy. So, as far as the gluten-free or lack thereof contents listings go, great, that helps me a lot. But on the other hand, they (the FDA) need to cease attempts to lecture or otherwise restrict people above the age of majority buying what foods they wish.”
I am not at all convinced that the industry might not volentarly provide such information, or do so to avoid a lawsuit.
In any-case I am certain many state goverment woudl issue labeling requirements(if they haven’t already) which will be just as effective for two reasons:
1: The core food supply must be local in many areas and the more areas the food supply is local the more secure the same food supply is. It is therefore easily for the State & local authority to attack the source if necessary.
2: Whether the food supply is local or not, the food supply is sold locally. Therefore always easily with in the domain of local authorities not to mention State authoritative.
This can and must be a State, Local, & individual issue again.
Men must have the freedom to buy food off the crop directly from the farmer or rancher.
You’ll find no argument here. And I understand that, going in. Like I said, all the safety police garbage is just that. And for those, even discounting all else, the FDA can hang.
My only point where I thought they did a decent job was the regs that touched on ingredients and how those relate for celiacs like me. It’s serious enough for me; it’s twice as serious for my twin six year-olds. I do not take the FDA’s side, so much as find that something they did was right, for once.
If labeling = good idea
Regulations = bad idea
How can Labeling regulations = good idea?
It can’t. Let the market drive the good ideas.
There are actually some really, really good companies out there for accurate food labeling. ConAgra, Unilever, and so on. And then, there are some who are so-so, and some who seem to revel in revealing nothing about the contents of their products. I don’t care about stealing a product idea; it doesn’t occur to me.
The only thing I need to do is make sure that neither my twins, nor myself, will get sick eating something. Picture losing about twenty pounds in a matter of weeks due to eating something. For a celiac, that’s sometimes rather daunting. But if that’s the worst cross I have, I’ve gotten off easy.
I live in a small town in Ohio, where farming is the big industry. I love it. And the farmer’s market is awesome, not to mention all the rest here. Local food is okay too, so long as I can find out whether or not it’ll make me sick. And I am completely in favor of local food as an option.
If you look at my reply to muawiyah, you’ll see that I recognize a difference here. Generally, the FDA has a safety police mentality these days. That’s reprehensible, to say the least. I am against it.
The only contrary point, for me, is the regs that cover listing contents of food. That gives me the chance to occasionally NOT have to grow all that my family eats, and to NOT only buy lowest-common denominator products, and build food from scratch. As a celiac, I’ve done that quite a bit. Far fewer processed foods than you’d find comfortable. But that’s the breaks. So, to paraphrase: ixnay on the FDA, aside from the food labeling regs that let me easily ensure I don’t get sick. Is that more clear?
Friend, that’s fine with me IF it yields clear labels for the food I buy. Until the labeling regs started in 2006, I couldn’t get a clear bead on contents for many foods. Do you have any idea just how many things began as a by-product of wheat? I don’t care about the FDA. The only element here that I care about is not poisoning myself and my children. Celiac disease is serious stuff, and it can kill me.
So, let’s change the equation.
Clear food labeling = good idea.
FDA (generally speaking) = bad idea.
But, for once, the bad idea yielded something good by, no doubt, accident.
Now, before any further replies, please, and I mean this in all kindness, and sincerity, look up celiac disease. Then, if you have any kids, reflect on how you would feel, if, say, a pair of identical, six year-old girls of yours, like you, had the disease. And then, after that reflection, tell me that my single admittance of an accidental good thing from a truly horrible bureaucracy is wrong.
Most people are too inconveinenced to hit the local farmers market so they drop by the local supermarket. Very little local foods at Krogers/Wal Mart. I think it would be difficult, and extremely expensive for Del Monte to have to make 50 different state labels for each can of corn for each state they send their product. It would be a labeling nightmare.
We are also becoming a importer of food. When I was at Sam's Club the other day nearly all the fish is from China and much of the veggies and fruits was from Mehico. I want to have some minimal food safety standards/labels especially for anything that comes out of those two countries.
Clear enough, just be clear myself. You have no obligation to justify your position in my eyes.
I respect the fact that you have needs, and that if you don’t know what is in a product it could possibly contain something that might make you & other members of your family sick.
As your aware there are many ways to obtain that information. And it is indeed nice when everyone is forced to give it, but it is expensive, and morally & legally wrong for Washington to do that.
The Ohio State legislator is perfectly capable of imposing such a mandate for food sold in a supermarket in Ohio. Short of that there as you mentioned there are other-ways to obtain such information.
“I want to have some minimal food safety standards/labels especially for anything that comes out of those two countries.”
Don’t buy anything that doesn’t have labels or go to any store that doesn’t insure safety.
Just because goverment doesn’t mandate something doesn’t mean it won’t exist.