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The FDA’s Sodium Folly

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Director at Public Health and American Well-Being Initiative
Joel M. Zinberg, M.D., J.D. is the Director of the Public Health and American Well-Being Initiative at Paragon Health Institute, and a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute. A native New Yorker, he recently completed two years as General Counsel and Senior Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President.

One year ago, the Food and Drug Administration issued Guidance for Industry, a document setting out goals to reduce sodium content—generally found as sodium chloride (salt)—in commercially processed, packaged, and prepared foods. Shortly afterward, the Competitive Enterprise Institute submitted a request for correction (RFC) of the guidance under the Information Quality Act (IQA). Defying a requirement to respond within 60 days, the FDA has not replied.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (where I am a senior fellow) filed the RFC—an administrative mechanism to seek correction of inaccurate agency information—because the FDA failed to conduct a peer review of its scientific findings before issuing guidance that may harm more people than it helps. This is an important safeguard under the IQA, which Congress enacted to ensure the “quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by Federal agencies.”

The full article can be found in City Journal.

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