Senate blocks Canadian beef

The Senate, at least temporarily, has blocked Bush Administration plans to renew Canadian beef imports, with lawmakers saying there are still concerns about possible Mad Cow Disease contamination. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said he's disappointed with the action, saying it undermines US efforts to promote "science-based" regulations and complicates efforts to reopen foreign markets to US beef.

"USDA remains confident that the requirements of the minimal-risk rule, in combination with the animal and public health measures already in place in the United States and Canada, provide the utmost protection to both US consumers and livestock," he said.

A lawsuit worth its salt?

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer watchdog group, has filed a federal lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration to have salt classified as a food additive.

"Today, roughly 65 million Americans have high blood pressure and another 45 million have pre-hypertension. Unfortunately, a lifetime of eating too much salt is putting Americans' lives in jeopardy," said Dr. Stephen Havas of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a leading sodium expert. The 32-page report singles out processed and restaurant foods for most of the blame, saying they contribute almost 80 percent of sodium to the diet. It says thousands of processed foods, such as frozen dinners and soups, contain between 500 and 1,000 mg of sodium per serving. Food industry lobbyists in Washington say they'll oppose any change in salt's classification.