In a shocker, a US lab report reveals that premium brands of processed iodised salt including Tata 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 & Farms Products, the test 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 as reported by CNBCTV18.
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, said Gupta, who has launched a mission “to rid salt of harmful substances, expose corrupt practices by the salt industry and help provide healthy and safe natural variants of salt to the masses”.
“Leading companies in the edible salt manufacturing industry simply repackage industrial waste laden with hazardous chemicals like iodine and cyanide and market it as packaged edible salt, making people vulnerable to diseases like cancer, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, impotence, obesity, kidney failures etc,” he told media persons here.
He accused the companies of adapting “dangerous and undisclosed processes such as bleaching, adding a plethora of dangerous chemicals like iodine and cyanide to ‘refine’ the salt”.
Gupta alleged that the poisonous cyanide compounds are freely used by leading salt manufacturers in India, while iodine, which is already present in natural salt, is artificially added, virtually rendering the salt a poison.
He said that the country’s natural salt industry – spread across Gujarat’s Kutch, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan – has been systematically destroyed by successive governments which hailed “iodised salt” as a healthy alternative.
“Declaring salt from these salt pans, which is naturally suited for human consumption, as inedible is one of the biggest scams in post-Independent India. This is one of the worst cases of corporate greed and corruption with the livelihood of workers in the indigenous salt industry at stake,” Gupta claimed.
A strong nexus between the government and industrial lobbies is cheating workers of the indigenous pan salt industry, where it is found in natural form, but it sold at exorbitant prices, leaving the consumers with no choice but to buy the cheap, chemical-laced variants, he added.
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.
Official Statement from Tata Salt
In response to this story Tata Salt responded via its PR consultancy Adfactors PR claiming the story to be “completely false and baseless”. Below is Tata Salts’s full response.
The recent allegations made against the purity and health benefits of Tata Salt are totally false and misleading and being made by vested interests. India is one among many countries including the United States of America, European Union, Australia and New Zealand that have allowed the use of PFC in salt. The level allowed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), an independent statutory authority, under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India is the lowest among these jurisdictions (10 mg per kg). Codex Alimentarius, the most authoritative guidelines on food safety has declared PFC safe for consumption at levels of 14 mg per kg. The use of PFC is allowed in salt and is safe and harmless to the human body when consumed as per approved levels. This is clearly declared in the list of Tata Salt ingredients in a manner prescribed by the regulations.
Iodine is another essential micronutrient that is required in a small quantity by the body, every single day. As part of the Government of India’s efforts to address the issue of micronutrient deficiency in the country and tackle Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), Tata Salt has partnered with the government in this initiative from the year 1983, and played a pivotal role in the battle against iodine deficiency. According to FSSAI, adequate salt iodization in India has saved 4 billion IQ points in the last 25 years.
As one of India’s most trusted brand, Tata Salt prides itself on being a reputed and responsible brand and follows a rigorous quality control processes to ensure that a safe, healthy and high-quality product is delivered to consumers. This not only includes quality control at the manufacturing location, but also strict quality control in distribution and product quality.
Although Tata Salt claims its salt is safe for consumption, the claim is based on two criteria as is stated in its response.
Level allowed by the Govt of India – 10 mg per kg
Codex Alimentarius guidelines – 14 mg per kg
What should be noted is that Tata Salt has not denied using this poisonous components in its salt. It merely stated that it is safe because it is under Govt’s prescribed regulation. It should also be noted that even the Indian Govt’s regulation on food safety are based on Codex Alimentarius. Hence, it should be worth looking into what exactly is Codex Alimentarius.
The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety. These standards are derived from the ones established by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in October 1891 called Codex Alimentarius Austriacus. The Codex Secretariat is run by staff designated by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO), located at FAO headquarters in Rome.
Codex Alimentarius is derived from the standards established by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in October 1891 called Codex Alimentarius Austriacus.
There is a widespread concern regarding the use of Codex Alimentarius as a tool for influencing and dominating the health and food policies of nations under the Anglo-American orbit for the benefit of corporate giants. One of the main causes of concern is that the Codex Alimentarius is recognized by the World Trade Organization as an international reference standard for the resolution of disputes concerning food safety and consumer protection. Meaning that WTO uses Codex Alimentarius as a conflict resolution guideline, and the Codex compliant countries are favored over non-complaint countries.
In 1996, for example, the Ecologist magazine revealed that, when the Codex Alimentarius met, the German delegation put forward a proposal, sponsored by three German pharmaceutical firms, that no herb, vitamin or mineral should be sold for preventive or therapeutic reasons, and that supplements should be reclassified as drugs. The proposal was agreed, but protests halted its implementation. Drug companies have a proven track record in trying to legislate the natural health business out of existence. The Alliance for Natural Health Europe, for instance, claims that Codex Alimentarius is a plan to destroy organic food, natural foods and food supplements.
In addition, the Manifesto on the Future of Food stated that “bureaucracies like the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Codex Alimentarius have codified policies designed to serve the interests of global agribusiness above all others, while actively undermining the rights of farmers and consumers“.
In the view of the raging controversy surrounding Codex Alimentarius and its use as a tool for geopolitical gains, it would be prudent to review the food and health regulations of India scientifically rather than being based on mere faith on global organizations already under scanner.
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