Bolivia’s new consumer rights minister is proposing that salt shakers be banned in the country’s restaurants. He says that one in three Bolivians suffer from hypertension, which has been linked to high levels of salt consumption.
Minister Guillermo Mendoza says he will propose a law to control the use of salt, not just on restaurant tables but in the preparation of food as well. “This is a well known public health issue. It is time we must remove the salt shaker from the table to reduce heart disease in our country,” he said.
Until there is a new law, Mendoza says he is asking restaurant to voluntarily remove salt from their tables. He says that, on average, Bolivians consume seven grams of sale per day, above the five gram maximum recommended by the Pan American Health Organization.
Mendoza is also taking aim at sugar and fats that lead to high cholesterol. “My job is to protect Bolivian consumers and I believe this includes making sure that the food they eat is safe.”
Restaurant owners have reacted with a mix of outrage and humor at Mendoza’s salt proposal. Some say the government has no right to tell individuals what they can and can’t eat.
“What’s next?” asked an owner in La Paz, “Will they say that chicken and beans are illegal? Where does this end? I think Mr. Mendoza should concentrate on his own table first before telling the rest of us how to manage ours.”