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I requested that my friend & colleague in the food world David Schleifer post something about his work on FDA regulation and the Center for the Science for Public Interest. Here’s what he had to say: (and I’m cross posting this on controllingauthority, hope that’s OK!)

Old Salt:

I’m worried about my pretzel. And my pickles. And my pie.

In response to a petition filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the Food and Drug Administration is currently taking public comments on whether or not to remove salt from its list of foods generally recognized as safe. According to the FDA, the use of a food additive may be generally recognized as safe based either on a preponderance of scientific evidence or, for substances in use before 1958, based on a substantial history of consumption by a significant number of consumers.

Few foods have a more substantial history than salt: the word “salary” originates from the Latin salarium, which referred to Roman soldiers’ allowances to buy salt. Salt taxes have incited protest from 13th century France to 20th century India. Salt is found in nearly every recipe and food product, and not just because it enhances flavor. It contributes to texture and structure in breads and other baked goods. It controls spoilage in packaged foods and promotes proper fermentation in pickled items. And it is indispensable in maintaining color and emulsification in everything from bologna to ice cream.

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