Now that Bloomberg's salt-reduction initiative is rolling, the FDA will soon introduce a salt attack of their own. Though it hasn't been formally announced, the Washington Post reports that the FDA is planning a 10-year initiative that would eventually lead to a legal limit on the amount of salt allowed in processed food. One source said, "This is not rolling off a log. We're talking about a comprehensive phase-down of a widely used ingredient. We're talking about embedded tastes in a whole generation of people."

The program would require the FDA to analyze thousands of products and then work with the manufacturers to reduce the salt input slowly enough so consumers didn't taste the difference. Currently, manufacturers are allowed to use as much salt as they want because it's "generally recognized as safe" under federal standards. Well, that was before studies showed that most Americans consume twice the daily recommended amount of salt a day. (Just one Katz's pastrami sandwich!) Recent studies have shown that cutting salt intake by three grams a day could prevent hundreds of heart attacks and strokes. Cheryl Anderson, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said "We can't just rely on the individual to do something." Surely not. They would probably just pull a Sliwa.

Many food manufacturers are already jumping on board. Sara Lee, Kraft Foods and General Mills have all announced they will reduce sodium, and Lay's even developed a new sodium chloride crystal shape that will somehow make their potato chips 25% less salty. However, others say salt is necessary for flavor and texture. "For some soups, for instance, it's not just the salty taste—sodium makes the soup feel thicker," says director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center Gary K. Beauchamp.

And Morton Satin, the coincidentally named director for technical and regulatory affairs Salt Institute, just wants to make sure the FDA is smart with his favorite seasoning. "I want to make sure they're basing this on everything that is in the scientific literature, so we don't end up being guinea pigs because someone thinks they're doing something good."