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Monday, March 14, 2011


  This is one where I don't know the answer. Via Dick Puddlecote comes something about the charity pushing the salt kills scare story. The astonishingly named CASH (Consensus Action on Health and Salt)
the entire anti-salt industry is a huge conglomerate consisting of ... one very sad geezer with a longstanding fixation.

I looked into CASH a while ago and vaguely remembered that they received paltry income while paradoxically enjoying huge media interest. It also struck me that they were working out of someone's office in Tooting.

That someone didn't concern me at the time ...

Prof Graham MacGregor, of St George's Hospital, in Tooting, South-West London, welcomed the move but added: "Why do they need to put salt on the chips at all? Why not leave them as they are and let customers sprinkle on what they want?"

Hmm, interesting.

But the BBC article says he is from the "Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine".

Funny enough, so now is the HQ of CASH.

Principal address:

Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine,

Charterhouse Square,

London ECIM 6BQ

So it would seem that this entire organisation consists of Graham MacGregor and, err, a couple of mates.
   This is perhaps an unsympathetic view since they also have a bit over £230,000. I sent this email to their largest contributor     
I note that, reading the accounts of "Consensus Action on Salt and Health", the organisation behind the the salt in foods scare it is funded very largely (£200,000) by Nissan UK with an extra £30,000 from the Food Standards Authority. I hope you don't think I'm being nosey but, of all the possible charities Nissan could support, why did you choose this one? Did some high executive in the company once suffer a salt related accident or something?
     Coincidentally since writing to them the accounts section of CASH's site seems to have disappeared but it used to show those 2 donations and a string of donations of £1,000 from various food producers. This would certainly be consistent with them having received a letter saying "we are going to give out a press release naming food manufacturers who have salt in their foods - how would you like not to be on it - we accept cheques made out to CASH" but perhaps there is something else it would be consistent with.

     I completely understand the Food Standards Authority funding them - this is standard fakecharity procedure where an empire building government department pays a fakecharity who then propagandise for a bigger, more powerful and more parasitic government department. That is how British government is run. But why on earth does Nissan, a car company, want to fund a false salt scare story?

      The only thing I can think of is, other than the chief executive being scared by a salt cellar, is that when setting up in Britain they made a discrete promise to make "charitable" donations to funds suggested by various politicians. Perhaps somebody else has some ideas.

     I'll leave the last word on the ridiculousness of this particular health-fascist scare story from Professor John Brignal's Numberwatch
Here we go again! The food fascists are back on the salt trail. A press release from a branch of the Nanny State that calls itself the Food Commission was picked up by all the UK media. They harangue the processed food industry for failing sufficiently to reduce the salt content of their products. There is, of course, a maximum recommended level, based on no scientific evidence at all. The justification comes in the last two lines:

Eating high levels of salt is linked to high blood pressure, which is the main cause of strokes and a major factor in heart attacks, two of the most common causes of death and illness in the UK.

Not only is this based on a familiar form of weasel words “is linked to”, but the story is all about 1 to 6 year olds. We are not told how many of these die of strokes and heart attacks.

The BBC in its enthusiastic promotion of the new scare links to its own essay on salt, which relies on more tame weasel words “Many scientists believe this process is linked to high blood pressure, or hypertension, which in turn is linked to a greater risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.”

In fact, the whole salt farrago has become the epitome of junk science. Gary Taubes has provided a monumental survey of the evidence. It is all there – exaggerations, statistical fiddles, ex cathedra pronouncements, subreption, bullying and an adherence to the principles of religion rather than of science.

The physiological fact is that the human body deals very effectively with the maintenance of its salt balance. Any excess is successfully excreted by action of elaborate control mechanisms. What it cannot deal with is a lack of salt, since it cannot manufacture it. Both sodium and chlorine are essential to huge range of functions within the body, from digestion to nerve impulse transmission. The trick by which animals were able to leave the salt sea was to take it with them in the blood plasma. Animals instinctively know the importance of salt, which is why they resort to salt licks.
PS I love the use of the word "consensus" in their title to lend an entirely spurious authority to the scam.


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Nice piece, puts the salt scam in the fraudulent spotlight it deserves. :)
Good for you!

I'd like to point out the obvious fact that all people lose salt and other electrolytes (such as potassium) when they perspire. In a hot environment, or when exercising, people need to take in enough electrolytes ot make up for that. Just drinking water alone won't do the job.

The brain and nervous system use electricity as part of their communications mechanism. If electrolyte levels decline too much, that leads to a shutdown of neurological activity.
I seem to remember some outfit called "The national consumer council" or something like that consisted of one old lady, a letterhead and her own views and it got media which seemed our of proportion to its actual size or research capability.
Thank you, thats very interesting information. I need to share with my friends.
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