An Analysis of the Mineral Composition of Pink Salt Available in Australia

Foods. 2020 Oct 19;9(10):1490. doi: 10.3390/foods9101490.


Little is known about the mineral composition of pink salt. The aim of this study was to evaluate for the first time the mineral composition of pink salt available for purchase in Australia and its implications for public health. Pink salt samples were purchased from retail outlets in two metropolitan Australian cities and one regional town. Color intensity, salt form, and country of origin were coded. A mass spectrometry scan in solids was used to determine the amount of 25 nutrients and non-nutritive minerals in pink salt (n = 31) and an iodized white table salt control (n = 1). A wide variation in the type and range of nutrients and non-nutritive minerals across pink salt samples were observed. One pink salt sample contained a level of lead (>2 mg/kg) that exceeded the national maximum contaminant level set by Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Pink salt in flake form, pink salt originating from the Himalayas, and darker colored pink salt were generally found to contain higher levels of minerals (p < 0.05). Despite pink salt containing nutrients, >30 g per day (approximately 6 teaspoons) would be required to make any meaningful contribution to nutrient intake, a level that would provide excessive sodium and potential harmful effects. The risk to public health from potentially harmful non-nutritive minerals should be addressed by Australian food regulations. Pink salt consumption should not exceed the nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand guidelines of <5 g of salt per day.

Keywords: heavy metals; lead poisoning; minerals; pink salt; salts; sodium chloride.