This article (H/T: The New Ledger) says absolutely everything that you need to know about the messianic zealots assailing the Food and Drug Administration right now. Quick context: somebody in North Carolina (quick, North Carolinian voters: how does your legislator feel about wrecking the taste of your bacon?) noticed that the FDA is gearing up a set of rules on sodium levels that might have an adverse effect on North Carolinian foodstuffs, like country hams. And by ‘adverse’ I mean ‘endangers consumers’:
Candace Cansler, director of the National Country Ham Association, said U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations require country hams to have at least 4 percent salt content. Any less and the meat is subject to microbial contamination.
DeWitt said the FDA probably wouldn’t write a rule contradicting the USDA’s 4 percent minimum rule, but it might set a salt content maximum at 6 or 7 percent.
Bolding mine. Here is a hint for Christina Dewitt of the Institute of Medicine and [Oklahoma State University; my apologies for the error]: when somebody informs you that there needs to be a minimum level of a particular food additive present to prevent people from becoming infected, saying that the rule ‘probably’ won’t be changed is not very… smart, really. It suggests a certain sort of close-minded, theocratic fanaticism that is no less worrisome for not being violent. After all, the problem here is not that Christina Dewitt wants to eat ham that is less sodium-enriched; she wants me to eat ham like that, too – whether I want to, or not. And her definition of acceptable risk is broader than mine. And her sect has some say in setting FDA standards, apparently.
Put another way: I don’t particularly care one way or another about the Institute of Medicine’s religious beliefs. But I do care if they’re trying to turn said religious beliefs into public policy, particularly when doing so raises a health risk.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.