Health concerns

Salt and E. coli

June 1, 2010

The New York Times has been ringing a lot of health alarm bells lately. First came the paper’s unsettling report on rare (but still dangerous) strains of E. coli. Then came its article on the salt wars, recounting more than three decades of battle over sodium between the health field and the food industry.

What’s to worry about? Well, those six rarer strains of E. coli bacteria are causing health woes of their own, including an April romaine outbreak. But not much has been done about them:

Although the federal government and the beef and produce industries have known about the risk posed by these other dangerous bacteria for years, regulators have taken few concrete steps to directly address it or even measure the scope of the problem.

As for salt, the problem is that Americans eat far too much of it, mostly in the form of processed food:

The food industry releases some 10,000 new products a year, the Department of Agriculture has reported, and processed foods, along with restaurant meals, now account for roughly 80 percent of the salt in the American diet.

So stop buying those Fritos already.

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