Salt Know-how:  Radiation and Pollutants in Salt


                                 Salt Pond, owned by Cargill on the San Francisco Bay Coast.   The colors are due to algal concentrations

Since I’ve been working the Farmers’ Markets selling Wild Sea Salt, I have had some interesting questions regarding where I source my ingredients from.  The main question is where I purchase the salt.  I did much research in this area and, since I was determined on finding a salt company within the United States, I settled with the company of San Francisco Salt.  The company produces salt for both body bath and artisanal culinary.  They source their salt from the Newark, CA  solar evaporation plant owned by Cargill then mix it with various flavors and techniques at their own plant to make an end result.  In the case of Wild Sea Salt, the end result is the mixing of Cargill salt with certified authentic Hawaiian Alaea Clay.  Why do I not just get the salt directly from Hawaii?  Because it is three times more expensive and is often difficult to acquire.

When people hear that the salt is coming from the San Francisco Bay, many are concerned about radiation exposure due to contaminated waters seeping over from Asia.  I too was concerned about this and, within my research, I made sure that I put these very questions forward to the SFSalt company when I decided to purchase from them.  They were very forthcoming with information which eased my mind with their answers, thus confirming my decision to buy.  Here is, to the best of my ability, is the answer to any concerns you may have when determining which salt is best for you:

Virtually every commercial salt producer, whether artisan or industrial, is regulated, and has to undergo testing. The thing to get straight is that generally speaking, salt is the wrong place to look for contaminants. Fish, milk, produce, livestock can take in certain substances and can indeed concentrate them.  But salt does not bio-accumulate pollution like organic things do.  On the contrary, the nucleation of crystals excludes the bonds with substances other than the crystals being nucleated, making it very difficult for any contamination to get a foot-hold on the crystal.  This is why salts are actually cleaner than the environment from which they are made.  Another thing to consider is how little salt you actually eat. The US Dept. Of Agriculture estimates we each eat 4.7 pounds of food a day with only a quarter to one half of an ounce of that food being salt.  If you are interested in finding a source of pollutants in your diet, look to the foods that bio-accumulate, and which you consume in relatively large quantities.  The last thing I’d add is that salt makers are generally profoundly environmentally conscious. Both the productivity and sustainability of their enterprise depends on intact ecosystems.  As people who depend on the healthy ecology of the seas, they see themselves as stewards of the sensitive marine lands, and are ardent defenders of it against encroachment of industrial and residential interests.  Buying good salt helps preserve some of the environments where other foods can grow naturally.

I hope this outline helps regarding answering questions on radiation and pollutants in salt.  Salt is one of our essential minerals we need in our diet everyday.  Therefore, it would be a shame to use a contaminated seasoning on foods you work so hard to source from clean and natural sources.  I hope this confirms that Wild Sea Salt is worthy of your future culinary experiements and amazing creations, which can only be doubly delicious with a sprinkle of the Wild Salt flavor of your choice.

© Wild Sea Salt established August 2015