Tata has finally agreed that they use Potassium Ferrocyanide as an anti-caking agent, though they still are not courageous enough to put it on their packet, said Shiv Shankar Gupta, who recently revealed, citing a US lab report, that top Indian salt brands contain Potassium Ferrocyanide.
Shiv Shankar Gupta, Chairman of Godhum Grains and Farm Products Pvt Ltd, ruled out the claim of Tata Salt and FSSAI (Food Safety and Standard Authority of India) that Potassium Ferrocyanide is non-toxic. “It is wrong,” he said.
“Though opinion is divided, it has already been proved to be lethal in the long run, which is the sole reason why Britain prohibited the use of Potassium Ferrocyanide in edible salt” he added.
“It should be noted that Tata is using E 536, the European-approved food additive number for Potassium ferrocyanide on their packets, as they are well aware that the moment they put potassium ferrocyanide, it may scare people away,” said Shiv Shankar Gupta, who started as an exporter of pink salt and later shifted his focus on natural salt. “Not many know what E 536 is,” he added.
“Check www.foodnetindia.com, one of the leading food safety websites in India. The website has reviewed Tata Salt Lite and raised their concerns. The findings are in the public domain and available for everyone to see,” he said.
Food Net India says: “Potassium ferrocyanide (E536) which is classified as a neutral salt is used increasingly nowadays in iodised salt as an anti-caking agent. It is slightly toxic, as adding acid to an aqueous solution releases toxic hydrogen cyanide gas. Although not mutagenic, it can cause irritation, if ingested, inhaled, or if it comes into contact with skin. Its adverse effects increase with the increase of quantity and regularity with which it enters the body. It is toxic when consumed in large amounts and accumulates in the body. In Great Britain, the addition of Potassium Ferrocyanide or E-536 to table salt is prohibited.”
“Table salt is manufactured salt minus any natural minerals. Salt is an essential component for our body’s functioning; it is not a dangerous thing. However, during salt processing, the balance of sodium in comparison to other valuable minerals is lost. And companies further complicate by adding harmful anti-caking agents to salt. Such anti-caking agents contain aluminum, a carcinogenic that can accumulate in the human brain, causing neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s,” said Mr. Gupta, who is popularly known as the father of Indian gemstone industry.
The practice of adding table salt with iodine started way back in the 1920’s in the US as a means to prevent goiters. Goiters, an enlargement of the thyroid gland, is caused by lack of sufficient iodine.
In order to prevent goiters, the iodization of salt was adopted as a cheap and easy method. The practice was quickly adopted elsewhere in Canada and the US, where goiters were common. And iodized salt continues to be used till this day. In India, consumption of iodized salt in goiter-prone areas was promoted under the National Goiter Control Programme (NGCP) in 1962. The programme was modified and renamed as National Iodine Deficiency Disorders Control Program (NIDDCP) in 1992.
However, he said, today, there is an iodine overload as we already gain sufficient iodine from other food sources. Fortification of iodine, thus, is no longer required, he asserted.
Table salt, with its high content of mineral sodium, can lead to high blood pressure or hypertension. Increased sodium intake also doubles the risk of heart failure, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes. According to Josh Gitalis, US-based clinical nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner, table salt can also lead to autoimmune disease by increasing pro-inflammatory macrophages, increase Th17 cell potency and Il-17 function, as well as impairing Treg cell function.
Vacuum salt, or what you call iodized salt, has practically nothing in common with natural salt. While natural salt comes with 84 variant of minerals comprised of trace minerals like silicon, phosphorous and vanadium, processed salt is comprised of chemicals such as moisture absorbents and an added iodine.
Vacuum salt is dried above 1200 degrees’ Fahrenheit. This excessive heat alone alters the natural chemical structure of the salt. In short, what remains after this process is a chemically cleaned sodium chloride and adding to that is potassium ferrocyanide, which doesn’t require at all.
“If iodine is your concern, then most of the adults need about 150 micrograms (mcg) of iodine per day, except for pregnant women, who need about 220 mcg, or people who are iodine-deficient. You can get 50 percent of your daily iodine intake from just 1 cup of low-fat yogurt. And one cup of milk provides 59 to 112 mcg of recommended daily iodine intake. Another major source of iodine is seaweeds. You may be able to reach your daily intake with just one gram of sea plants.”
So the question is do we really need to go for iodized salt with Potassium ferrocyanide in it when natural salts are available without any chemical additives,” he asks.