Pink salt is marketed as a healthier alternative to white salt; however, little is known about its nutritive and non-nutritive mineral composition. This study aimed to evaluate for the first time the mineral composition of pink salt available for purchase in Australia. 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 nutritive and non-nutritive minerals in pink salt (n = 31) and an iodized white table salt control (n = 1). Analyses found a wide variation in the type and range of nutrients and non-nutritive minerals across pink salt samples. One pink salt sample from Peru 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, including non-nutritive heavy metals (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.
Copyright © 2020 Nutrition Research Australia
Reproduced with permission