Poisonous table salt sold in India, claims US lab report

Company says its salt ‘safe and harmless.’

Citing a US lab report, a Mumbai-based activist said that premium brands of processed iodised salt sold in India allegedly contain alarming levels of carcinogenic and harmful components like potassium ferrocyanide.

According to Shiv Shankar Gupta, Chairman of Godhum Grains and Farms Products revealed that the iodised salt of Tata Salt is unsafe for human consumption as US-based lab report which confirms that the salt alleged contains alarming levels of carcinogenic and harmful components like potassium ferrocyanide.

Tata Chemicals, which manufactures the Tata Salt brands, however, assured that its salt is “safe and harmless” for consumption.

Shocking US Lab report

According to him, the analysis report by American West Analytical Laboratories has revealed that potassium ferrocyanide levels are an alarmingly high in Sambhar Refined Salt at 4.71 mg/kg, at 1.85 mg/kg in Tata Salt and 1.90 mg/kg in Tata Salt Lite.

Tata Salt responds

Officials of Tata Chemicals, however, dismissed the allegations as “totally false and misleading” and said that potassium ferrocyanide content in its brands is “well within permissible limits” and is “safe and harmless” to the human body when consumed as per approved levels.


It added that iodine is another essential micronutrient needed by the human body daily in small quantity, and is part of the government’s efforts to address the issue of Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD).

“Since 1983, Tata Salt has partnered with the government in this (IDD) initiative and played a pivotal role in the battle against iodine deficiency. As per FSSAI, adequate salt iodisation has saved four billion IQ points in the past 25 years,” the company said in a statement.


It said that India is among countries like US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand that have permitted the use of potassium ferrocyanide in salt.


Activist speaks

Shiv Shankar Gupta, the activist has reiterated its claim and said that the presence of alarming levels of potassium ferrocyanide makes the products manufactured by these premium iodised salt carcinogenic.

“Nowhere in the world is potassium ferrocyanide – a deadly poison – is permitted for use in the edible salt industry or for that matter in any other food items,” he said.

Gupta said he had been pursuing this serious issue for nine years to rid salt of harmful substances.

“I won’t stop till I expose corrupt practices employed by the salt industry and help provide a healthy and safe natural variant of salt to the masses,” he told Healthwire.

He said the industrial waste, laced with hazardous chemicals like iodine and cyanide were being repackaged as edible salt and sold in the market.

“The carcinogenic component used to make iodised salt by leading manufacturers causes cancer, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, kidney failures, obesity, and even impotence. Leading salt manufacturers in India undertake bleaching with the use of dangerous chemicals such as iodine and cyanide,” he said.

Gupta also claimed that the government of India had no facility to test the salt and verify its quality which forced him to approach labs in US to support his claims.

He accused the government departments entrusted with the task of ensuring quality standards in the production of branded salt of being “inert”.

“RTI applications show that none of the big salt manufacturers have applied for testing or licensing with the FSSAI, which – on its part – has been unambiguous on how refined salt is produced. Moreover, food testing labs in the country are not equipped to measure the quantity of cyanide in salt,” he claimed.

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