By David Thier
For New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, trans-fats were easy. Cigarettes were child’s play. He’s mean, he’s ready, and he’s looking for a challenge. Watch your back, salt.
According to New York Magazine, last month Bloomberg called a clandestine meeting of health experts and food-industry reps to lay out a five-year plan to cut sodium intake by 20% over the next five years.
“People are eating too much salt, me included,” Bloomberg told a crowd of health professionals gathered at the Pierre Hotel for an awards luncheon Friday.
According to a memo from Scott Vinson, an attendee of Bloomberg’s secret meeting,no new regulation is going to be introduced, but rather there will be a voluntary effort from city restaurateurs. It is still up in the air whether the feeble-minded public will be made aware of these efforts, or if the attempt at taking away their salt would make them go Paris 1848.
The term nanny-state has been thrown around with regards to Bloomberg’s efforts to control the public health through top-down control, but he’s not bothered.
“After this, we can keep going,” Bloomberg said. “People don’t like to have somebody come in and tell them what to do, but afterward, if it turns out to be something that’s in their interest, they sure as heck say thank you.”
Salt is a tricky business, however – unlike trans-fats and cigarettes, which are hard to argue in favor for, salt is a well-respected and biologically necessary part of the human diet when used it what I’ve heard called “moderation.” Processed foods and fast-food can take a fair amount of blame for putting unhealthy amounts of salt in their food, but gourmands are not immune to excess in the wily crystal, either.
The health benefits from reducing the sodium intake of New Yorkers would be undeniable – so would dictating every citizen’s diet and regulating exercise. How far is too far? How far is not far enough? How far is just right wait stop, there?