Reaction to the legislative assault on salt

salt shaker

All this should probably taken with a grain of... well... you know.

As you might have heard, state assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) has proposed a bill that would ban restaurants from using salt in the preparation of food.

That hasn't exactly gone over well. A quick spin around the table for reaction after the jump.

Also: a scan of Ortiz's other fun-filled legislation.

The reaction

The Center for Consumer Freedom, an industry-backed group that's "devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices," appears to have been the first to yell about the Ortiz bill (it is their job, after all). CFCF calls the measure an "absurdist bill" and says Ortiz has "single-handedly insulted the intelligence of the entire state."

Following the tip from CFCF, Katherine Mangu-Ward from Reason -- the libertarian mag -- noted with sarcasm that the bill's $1000 fine for using salt was "totally proportionate and reasonable." She also called the bill "the ravings of a madman in legislative form."

Chore Sicha at The Awl: "[the bill] is off to the Committee on Health, where they are going to laugh and laugh and roll around on the floor and laugh some more before deep-sixing it in some filing cabinet somewhere." (Also, he found a great accompanying photo.)

Steve Barnes called the measure "a deeply misguided gesture that is also an abuse of the legislative process" and tagged it as "a nanny-state bill." Steve goes on to lay out the culinary and scientific basis for using salt in cooking (it's good stuff -- go read it).

The Center of Science in Public Interest's Michael Jacobson (pretty much the mortal enemy of the Consumer Freedom group) criticized the bill in National Restaurant News: "Limiting sodium requires more a scalpel than a meat axe."

The Village Voice's Rebecca Marx calls the bill "the kind of sadly deranged move that could have made only by someone whose electrolytes are hopelessly out of whack."

NYT commenter stanford mcstanihan: "Good idea. While we're at it, why not ban all the things that can potentially be used to excess and lead to death. I'm sure the list would be small. Prohibition's where it's at yo!"

Famed chef Eric Ripert to NYDN: "There are zero dishes I prepare that have no salt at all."

Daniel Maurer at NY Mag's Grub Street: "maybe chefs shouldn't even bother cooking and we should just have microwaves at every table."

The Atlantic's Max Fisher says Ortiz's bill is a good idea: "Bottom line, I doubt he really wants to ban salt. But he does want to get people thinking about salt as a health danger, which he's accomplished, and maybe to inspire a reduction in salt consumption."

OK, so who is this Ortiz guy?

Curious about who would actually float a bill like this, we took a look at the other legislation sponsored by Felix Ortiz. Among the bills:

That's only a slice of Ortiz's slate. Many of his bills look like they could be good ideas and are probably well-intentioned. But after reading through the list, we kind of get the sense that Felix Ortiz is the buzzkill at all the Assembly keggers.

photo: Flickr user Ingorrr


Two things you NEVER tax or ban: sugar and salt.

Looking at that list of legislation by Ortiz just makes me wonder, "doesn't he have anything better to do?"

Local restaurants should keep an eye out for Ortiz and serve him and his flunkies saltless meals.

Ugh. I seriously am starting to feel like I had more freedom in Russia. I may have to go back.

As a former long-time resident of the Salt City, I'm deeply offended. I hope Syracuse's representatives give him a good shaking.

This worked really well in India too.

"But after reading through the list, we kind of get the sense that Felix Ortiz is the buzzkill at all the Assembly keggers."

Please please PLEASE make this the comment of the week! So funny!!!

Ellen, I just posted that comment to my Facebook page along with the link to this story - it is definitely a great comment and probably so true!!

Ortiz should quit this grandstanding nonsense and work on the budget.

Every time one of these clowns proposes a nutty bill like this, the folks at DOH get to spend a month banging their heads on their desks evaluating the "potential impacts", even though most of them want to respond with "are you f-ing kidding me?"

the derision for the concept of the "nanny state" is part of the virulent underlying sexism of modern western culture. the idea that the maternal role is not a suitable one for government to take is absurd. that said, this salt thing is probably more paternal (punishment, post-event correction) than maternal (guidance, care for others). the solution is not to make it illegal to have salt in foods but to make it illegal to feed your children poor diets. it is just as much an act of child abuse to raise someone on mcdonald's as it is to hit them with a rolled up newspaper.

slavery is no longer acceptable in america unless you produce those slaves with your own body and they are under 18. children are the next political group that needs emancipation. if you haven't met a 16 year old smarter than most adults you know, you aren't talking to many 16 year olds.

Here's the conflict with the State and their excuse of putting a tax on salt use and a tax on sugar (i.e. soda) as a way of making us healthier and doing us a "favor," they're also proposing taxes on gym memberships and they're cutting back on school aid which will undoubtedly come out of athletics and phys. ed programs. They're making it more expensive to get licenses for outdoor activities and they're trying to close our state parks where people go to be outdoors and play outside. Will those things make our kids healthier?

NYS is trying to earn money, plain and simple, and they're desperate. Having a gov't that wants its hands in on every little decision that's made in the private sector is another problem, but it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

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