Newsflash: Canned Soup Is Salty

The same folks who brought you the factually-dubious drinkable fat ads are at it again, with new New York City ads warning people that salty foods are...salty. As with the fat ad, the salt warning traffics in hyperbole for the public good. Here's the actual ad:

And here's a handy corrective graphic put together by the folks at the Center for Consumer Freedom:

For now, the campaign is simply encouraging eaters to read labels and choose less sodium-laden alternatives, rather than implying that all soups are created evil. But as we know from such sad tales as the Chuck E. Cheese-might-be-marketing-to-kids scandal, voluntary limits have a way of become mandatory programs over time.

More on shaky anti-salt science here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Campbell||

    We got sea salt, biotches.

  • Old Mexican||

    The State is mother to us all. The State knows what is good for us. Respect the State.

    Soup is salty, the State says, so it must be true. Salt is bad, says the State, so it must be true.

    The State is a protective mother, in whose loving bossom we will all be smothered.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    And if you don't do as your told...just wait until your father gets home and hears about this. He'll make you go pick a switch off the tree for him to beat you with. Your father is also the state BTW.

  • Butts Wagner||

    Your father is also the state BTW

    Actually, the state is a creature who is both mother and father(although it does refer to itself in the 3rd person). It asks only that you love and obey it. Just a small request, really. It's not like it's asking you for a ride to the airport at 5 AM on a Sunday.

  • ||

    I AM BOTH MOTHER AND FATHER! SUCK MY TITS AND THEN MY DICK!

  • Butts Wagner||

    Mr. Wagner was overcome by a horrible odor emitting from The State's vaginal/scrotal area. At that point, he refused to perform for The State. The State then revealed a knife and said "If I don't get pleasured, I will fucking cut you!"

    ...

    In his report, Officer U.N. noted that all parties reeked of alcohol.

  • ||

    MY LABIA IS WHY YOU DRINK!

  • Lao Tzu||

    Stop thinking, and end your problems.
    What difference between yes and no?
    What difference between success and failure?
    Must you value what others value,
    avoid what others avoid?
    How ridiculous!

    Other people are excited,
    as though they were at a parade.
    I alone don't care,
    I alone am expressionless,
    like an infant before it can smile.

    Other people have what they need;
    I alone possess nothing.
    I alone drift about,
    like someone without a home.
    I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

    Other people are bright;
    I alone am dark.
    Other people are sharper;
    I alone am dull.
    Other people have a purpose;
    I alone don't know.
    I drift like a wave on the ocean,
    I blow as aimless as the wind.

    I am different from ordinary people.
    I drink from the Great Mother's breasts.

  • ||

    I worked at a Chuck-e-Cheese in Rockford (now defunct, afaik) back in high school. Worst. Job. In. The. Universe.

    Especially when some kid scarfs down too much cheese-flavored cardboard pizza immediately before frolicking in the ball pit and upchuck-e-cheesing. That's a job Mike Rowe needs to investigate.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Just living in Rockford is a dirty job.

  • ||

    From what I can tell, Pittsburgh is Rockford with hills. So I don't know any better.

  • Robert||

    Rockford is now defunct?

  • Robert||

    It's not just canned soup. The same can be said for restaurant soup, including cafeteria and fast food soup, even when they didn't get it from a can. Practically speaking, it's what succeeds in the market. It appears that when people want soup, what they want is salty liquid.

  • ||

    That was a fancy way of saying "soup without salt tastes shitty".

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    "soup without salt tastes shitty"

    Well, yeah; after all, it's mostly boiled vegetables and meat. Without salt, pepper and some other stuff, it would be pretty boring.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Even with salt most soup is pretty fucking boring.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    From the people who brought you the food pyramid and "eggs are bad" ads and a few years later "eggs are good" ads comes SALT PARANOIA.

  • Homer||

    You better run, egg!

  • ||

    I hope Bloomberg gets a goiter.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I snuck a little extra salt into Bloomberg's soup. He won't be with us much longer.

  • ||

    Too much salt can lead to stroke and heart attack

    So can genetics, stress, or sitting on your fat ass.

  • ||

    So can reading H&R, especially Balko.

  • Anti-smoking pokeneses c.1964||

    Just a wee warning on the side of every pack of butts....that's all we want.

  • Mean Girl||

    You know what else is salty? Saltines.

  • Cyto||

    Ooh, and I put them in my soup! Double salty!

  • Pip||

    THEY FEED THEM TO BABIES!!!

  • ||

    I bought some saltines yesterday, actually. I had to chuckle when I saw the boxes for crackers that were salted only on one side. What, like I plan on fooling some health inspector by flipping all the crackers in my soup the right way when they come to make sure I'm living by their rules (for my own safety).

    Come on, cracker people. Salted or unsalted saltines is enough of an option. That shelf space could have been used for something else like more facings for Chicken In A Biskit.

  • Zeb||

    Aren't crackers usually only salted on one side?

  • Upgrayyed||

    I have a can of Campbells and a bag (the big one) of Saltines for lunch three times a week. I will die someday.

  • ||

    This is the saltiest thing I've ever eaten. And I once ate a big bowl of salt.

  • CK||

    These pretzels are making me thirsty!

  • Robert||

    These pretzels are making me thirsty!

  • Mean Girl||

    It's true that putting saltines in soup can be dangerous, especially if I invite you over for a bowl of my homemade navy bean soup and you obliterate all my hard work and nuanced layers of heartiness with a handful of baked flour. Trying to have a civilization here, people.

  • Upgrayyed||

    You know what else is a fantastic salt orgasm? Campbell's cream of potato with a ton of Lawry's. I put that shit on everything.

  • ||

    I've graduated from Lawry's up to the Zatarain's Creole Seasoning for everything. Compared to Lawry's, you would think God himself made it. It is that much better.

  • ||

    What about all the people who aren't getting enough salt? Who's looking out for them?
    Salt deficiency is actually a fairly common problem. Any medical condition that causes frequent urination or profuse sweating can lead to low sodium levels, and then dehydration.
    I have Addison's disease-- my sodium levels are often dangerously low.

    And why is New York City wasting money on so many ads in the first place? You know, most towns don't spend any money telling people what to eat, and their populations are often just as healthy (if not more so) than New York's.

  • Milwaukee||

    Thanks for noticing!

  • Rhywun||

    "And why is New York City wasting money on so many ads in the first place? "

    Because they can.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Because they can just can't fucking help themselves.

    FIFY

  • Tom||

    That's what I was wondering. When I go backpacking it's important that I get enough salt, especially since I drink a ton of water. I drink ridiculous amounts of water every day, which just washes the salt right out of me, so I often go out of my way to get some extra salt.

  • MJ||

    That's what you get being different and not sitting on your ass all day like a normal wealthy Manhattanite!

  • Environmental Evolutionist||

    You're all anti-science; Mamma Bloomberg says so!

  • ||

    Are you people aware of what's in salt? Sodium and chloride! Sodium can explode when in contact with water and is highly corrosive, and chloride is a poison. Yet Big Food wants us to ingest these dangerous chemicals!

  • ||

    Well played.

    Do you also know how volatile hydrogen is? And oxygen is quite dangerous when it comes in contact with a flame. Wake up, people!

  • Brett L||

    DHMO is fatal if inhaled! And DHMO is in soup!

  • ||

    Hydrogen can be fused to make thermonuclear explosions.

  • Kristen||

    Read the label? Read the fucking label?!?! What is this world coming to?!?!?

  • alan||

    I rarely use canned soup. I get an outstanding stock from boiling game hens.

    However, there is one yummy exception.

    Take a can of French Onion soup, dump it in a pot. Fill that can up twice more with sherry and dump it in after it. Add a few tea spoons of molasses, five spice, and a whole sprig of ginger root. Boil it for ten minutes, and then let it simmer down until its near the original consistency for several hours.

    Cook a rice based stir fry until nicely toasted, add the soup, boil it down, and then serve.

  • ♥♥♥||

    I just finished eating this and have had explosive diarrhea for the past 45 minutes. Thanks asshole.

  • ||

    which asshole are you thanking, alan or your own ?

  • Kristen||

    Also, Alton told me not to use the low sodium vegetable stock in my brine. I'm so confused!

  • Jeffersonian||

    I can just see the lawsuits now.

  • Mike M.||

    If I were a New York City taxpayer, I think I'd sue the city to stop wasting my tax dollars on this sort of garbage.

  • Kristen||

    They'll just take Good Eats off the air in NY markets.

  • ||

    Like hell they will.

  • Zeb||

    Pretty hard to have brine without salt.

  • Kristen||

    Does facetiousness fly over your head on a regular basis, or just this one time?

  • Cyto||

    I love that counter-ad. That puts it beautifully in perspective.

  • ||

    I love that counter-ad. That puts it beautifully in perspective.

    Yeah, but only for reasonable people who are capable of making rational decisions regarding what they put in their bodies. According to NYC, there just aren't enough people out there like you to risk it.

  • ¢||

    Yet Big Food wants us to ingest these dangerous chemicals!

    Ho-ho!, but, if you follow those links up there, you'll see that Big Food is totally in on this with Big Nanny.

    Just like in other Best Korea!

    There's no Big ________, man. There is only Big.

  • Free Viagra & Cialis||

    Are you saying there's no Big Penis?

  • ||

    There is only Big.

    "My hand are huge! They can touch anything but themselves. Oh, wait..."

  • Polynikes||

    I was in the soup aisle the other day, and they had low sodium varieties. Of course, I can read- maybe most New Yorkers can't?

  • ||

    There also appears to be a lack of basic skin care regimens for many women in NYC. Where's the PSA poster for all the lizardface girls? WON"T SOMEONE THINK OF THE L TRAIN LIZARD GIRLS?

  • ||

    "We here at the Center for Hyperbole in the Interest of Fundraising deplore your depraved indifference to the fate of millions of victims of tasty soup."

  • Taxpayer Dollar||

    This is the kind of shit that gets me up in the morning.

  • cynical||

    So, can we call Bloomberg a Soup Nazi now?

  • Brett L||

    Done. The NY Post beat you by a day and a half.

  • Mean Girl||

    Cigarette packaging will soon be required to bear gruesome images of diseased organs and human corpses. I can't wait till they start putting that on soup cans and Happy Meals.

  • MNG||

    I heard on the news the other day San Fran is going to ban Happy Meals unless they are offered at less than 600 calories and/or with healthy sides. Thanks for taking away my choice as a parent on that a-holes!

    This food stuff is one of the worst aspects of contemporary liberalism. As I've said before I'm fine with ending subsidies that foster unhealthy eating. I'm fine with labeling requirements (that are reasonable and not counter-productive) so that people can make truly informed voluntary purchases. But once all that is in place, if I want salty soup, then let me have salty soup, dammit. Anything else is paternalism worse than loathesome sin taxes (at least they have some revenue raising aspect).

  • prolefeed||

    Dammit, MNG, stop being reasonable. That is not your role as Teh House Librul TM. =)

    I'm fine with voluntary labeling -- mandatory labeling encourages politicians to take the next step like this, followed by bans. I mean, if you need labels to tell you that bacon and cheddar soup is not a health food, labels ain't gonna help.

  • MNG||

    "Dammit, MNG, stop being reasonable."

    Heh, well, I'll try a little harder. Let's start with the labeling thing. I'm always curious, what purpose is served by not requiring reasonable labeling? I assume one reason why libertarians oppose fraud is that while there is no force the fraudulent transaction is not truly voluntary. I see basic labeling as working toward furthering that goal.

  • MNG||

    Let me put it another way. You might say, well, the purchaser should have the burden of figuring out what is in there. But why not also say the purchaser should be vigilante against fraud (lies)?

    And if you say, well it is the coercion, I kind of see your point (btw-I think most people would voluntarily label, there would be strong market incentives to do that), then there is coercion to stop the fradulent seller from telling a lie. Why not have some coercion to make him go a bit further, to state truthfully certain "material facts?"

  • ||

    If you don't believe that most people have an interest in freedom and that they will violate any number of liberties if they think something is for your own good, the slippery slope argument becomes viewed as having a very steep angle.

    I don't think mandatory labeling is some great evil, but it plants the idea that what you eat is the providence of the government.

    Libertarians look unreasonable for objecting to every little thing; we wouldn't have to if acquiescence to a taking a tiny bite didn't so often lead to having the whole thing shoved down our throats.

  • Robert||

    Let's review the compromise by which the current nutrition labeling in the USA came to be. For years, customers wanted nutrition info on labels, and for years, mfrs. wanted to put it there. However, the law and/or regs arguably or definitely forbade such labeling on the ground of its being misleading or unfair. So to allow such labeling while leaving the playing field level, the law and regs were changed to make it mandatory and according to a fixed format. Still, not all info is clearly allowed. This compromise does seem to satisfy more people than were satisfied before, but still....

  • 0x90||

    Because you don't need to.

    For every disingenuous bureaucrat who wants to push this stuff via legislation, there are ten overbearing, if well-meaning, people in normal society who are just aching to do it the old fashioned way, i.e. by forming a citizen watchgroup. Even with all the government-sponsored nannyism we have these days, there are still a ton of those types of (usually very annoying, imo) private organizations. You should expect their number would rise significantly, were they not currently being co-opted by and/or absorbed into the government-brand nanny biz.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    The major difference is I can tell those 'tards to fuck the fuck off without going to jail.

  • MJ||

    "I'm always curious, what purpose is served by not requiring reasonable labeling?"

    Stealing a base there by assuming the labeling being demanded is
    reasonable. If it is not for mass produced pre-packaged foods, much labeling demands are far from reasonable.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: MNG,

    As I've said before I'm fine with ending subsidies that foster unhealthy eating. I'm fine with labeling requirements (that are reasonable and not counter-productive) so that people can make truly informed voluntary purchases.

    I'm not fine with requiring labeling, as these requirements are nothing more than barriers to entry schemes. Cui bono? Not me, as the extra cost of the labeling has to be borne my MY WALLET. Not the small canners, certainly. Major Bloomberg must have many, many friends in Big Industry who whisper these crazy ideas into his ear, as I cannot believe he's that clever.

  • Old Mexican||

    More on shaky anti-salt science here.

    The science is settleeeeeeeeed!!!!!!!!!!

    Today the D.C.-based CSPI is one of the country's most influential nanny groups, with an annual budget of $15 million and some 800,000 newsletter subscribers. It has the ability to grab headlines, kill sales of products it doesn't like, and shape regulatory policy. The group is also emblematic of a troubling cultural trend whose motto might be, "If it feels good, don't do it."

    The typical CSPI report takes one or two plausible concerns, blows them way out of proportion, and throws in several dangers that are trivial, unlikely, or highly speculative, all in an effort to scare people [read: like MNG, Tony, Chad, and now, Richard Head] into the one course of action CSPI knows to be right.

    Change IPCC for CSPI and you have virtually the same situation - loads of money being thrown around for exaggerated claims that influence policies, which in return brings more loads of money.

  • Ayn_Randian||

    You know, before you go throwing MNG in there, you might want to actually read what he said on the subject, you sopping douche. How lazy do you have to be to not read the comment immediately above your own?

  • ||

    He's referring to an AGW thread discussion, I think.

  • Ayn_Randian||

    Regardless, OM is intellectually shallow and deserves busted chops on 99% of the stuff he writes. A non-sequitur for purposes of a cheap shot against other posters is just stupid (and boring).

  • ||

    I'm intellectually shallow, too. A mental slut, if you will.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Ayn_Rand,

    You know, before you go throwing MNG in there, you might want to actually read what he said on the subject, you sopping douche. How lazy do you have to be to not read the comment immediately above your own?

    Even *I* can't read and reply THAT fast, AR. Look at the time each reply was posted.

    It is clear I did not see his reply as it was just ONE measly minute away from mine.

  • Ayn_Randian||

    MNG made his position on food-nannyism clear before today.

  • Old Mexican||

    Yes, I was.

  • MNG||

    Dude, I can't stand the CSPI. Can't stand them. I think about them what moderate Republicans must think about Pat Robertson (who invited them into the tent?).

  • Old Mexican||

    Duly noted.

    The fact is, the strategies of both are strikingly similar. They give a new face to the term "rent seekers."

  • ||

    If Tony and Chad aren't posting on this thread, and you start arguing with them anyway...is that considered trolling by proxy ?

  • Russ 2000||

    Bloomberg wants New Yorkers to have goiters.

  • ||

    Hey, that's a good point. Maybe he's secretly opposed to iodine, not salt.

  • ||

    Maybe he's just a big fan of Virginia Tech football.

  • Jennifer||

    Ugh. A few months ago I had a miserable cold, and when I went through the canned chicken noodle soup I had on hand, my boyfriend went out to buy more -- but he accidentally bought the "low-sodium" variety, and it was the nastiest, most flavorless stuff I ever tried. Even adding salt to it didn't help; the people who support salt bans on the grounds that "You can always add salt to the recipe later" are full of shit.

    I was going to give the rest of the low-sodium cans to the local food bank, then thought better of it -- if people are going to food banks their life sucks enough already, without having part of their weekly food allotment consist of flavorless canned water.

  • Jennifer||

    Not to mention: when you're sick, feverish and sweating, you actually need MORE salt than usual, to replace what you lose through perspiration. And while I have no firm statistics to back this up, I'd guess a LOT of people use canned chicken noodle soup as their default cold-remedy food; that's pretty much the only time *I* ever eat it.

  • MJ||

    The salt and the other minerals in soup (as well being easily digested)replacing what you are losing from, sweat, snot and vomit is one of the reason chicken soup is recommended when you are sick.

  • ||

    I've noticed that, too. How can low sodium soup resist the addition of salt? What the hell is in that stuff?

  • Old Mexican||

    Soap?

  • ||

    That could be it. There's something just not quite right about canned soup.

  • Jennifer||

    I seriously don't know how it was possible for the soup to resist the salt. I must've added at least a heaping tablespoon to it, probably more, and the salt somehow managed to dissolve into the broth without making the slightest difference in flavor. By the time I finally gave up and dumped that tasteless hideous mess in the garbage, I'd bet that soup actually contained more salt than a can of standard, salty, tasty chicken noodle.

  • ||

    That seemingly violates the conservation of mass. Perhaps these soups somehow use nuclear fusion to transform the salt into some other, tasteless substance?

  • ||

    Potassium chloride--"salt substitute"--in all likelyhood. (My husband, the kidney patient, had to avoid BOTH.) Sometimes, when I wanted lower sodium for myself, I have forgotten to check the labels, and had to throw the nasty stuff away.

    It ISN'T just "low sodium"--they add the awful stuff to make it taste better. *boggle*

  • Jason||

    Can't add salt? That's okay, we'll just add more fat to make it taste okay.

    Can't add fat? That's okay, we'll just add more sugar to make it taste okay.

    Can't add sugar? That's okay, we'll just add more salt to make it taste better.

    Repeat ad nauseaum. Add additional steps if you like.

  • Paul||

    New Yorkers are retards. That is all.

  • ||

    If a single can of soup had THAT much salt, don't these idiot bureaucrats think that people would NOT eat it at all simply by the fact that it would be DISGUSTING AS HELL?

  • tiffany jewellery||

    good topic

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement