You may not realize it but government regulations affect each American every day. As the Environmental Protection Agency cheerfully notes in their pro-regulation video contest introduction:

Even before you leave the house in the morning, government regulations help set the price of the coffee you drink, the voltage of electricity your alarm clock uses, and the types of programming allowed on the morning news.

Apparently unfulfilled with the current level of intrusion, government regulators have now set their sights on your diet. Yesterday, the Washington Post reported:

The Food and Drug Administration is planning an unprecedented effort to gradually reduce the salt consumed each day by Americans, saying that less sodium in everything from soup to nuts would prevent thousands of deaths from hypertension and heart disease. The initiative, to be launched this year, would eventually lead to the first legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in food products.

The fact that Americans tend to eat more salt than is healthy is not in dispute. According to the LA Times, Americans consume more than double what they need for good health. What is in dispute is whether it should be up to the individual or the government to make basic life decisions such as what to eat. While well intentioned, setting federal sodium limits marks yet another grim advance for the nanny state and further loss of freedom and personal responsibility.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much ordinary Americans can do about it. As with the majority of federal regulations promulgated each year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not need Congressional approval for such an action. Currently, under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the FDA has the power to determine what is considered a “safe level” of any substance found in manufactured foods and sets federal rules accordingly. As no level of sodium has yet been determined to be “safe,” all the FDA must do is decide a level they consider “safe” for use and manufactures must abide.

The nanny state wins yet again.