salt - ingredients?

That’s right, table salt has ingredients. Now I was thinking sodium chloride, maybe a little sodium iodide (iodized salt, you know). But here’s what is listed on a packet from a fast food joint:

salt, sodium silicoaluminate, dextrose, potassium iodide, sodium bicarbonate

WTF? Dextrose? That’s a form of sugar, what’s it doing in there? Potassium iodide, okay that’s where the iodine comes from, but why potassium? And what is sodium silicoaluminate and why is that in table salt?

In case your wondering if it was just the fast food thing, I checked the salt in my kitchen cabinet at home - basically the same thing, except it left out the sodium bicarbonate.

The sodium silicoaluminate is in there to keep the salt from caking in humid weather. Dunno why the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or dextrose is in there, though.

Robin

This site says

From here

I think that covers them all?

Thanks, I also found this:
http://www.mortonsalt.com/faqs/fatsfaqs.htm

It doesn’t explain potassium vs. sodium in the iodide agent, but that could either be because sodium iodide isn’t as stable or as useful, or else because we also need potassium.

Now what about sodium bicarbonate? Is that also a “free pouring” agent, or something else?

Note that Morton’s salt uses calcium silicate instead of sodium silicoaluminate.

Another anti-humidity trick I’ve seen. Put rice in your salt shaker. The rice is too big to fit through the holes and will absorb the moisture. Don’t know about how often to replace the rice or anything. Better method is use an air tight container.

Kosher salt has fewer ingredients, although some brands (Morton) do have sodium ferrocyanide (yellow prussiate of soda). Canning salt is almost always recrystallized mined sodium chloride with no additives.

I think some salts use potassium instead of sodium so they can have less sodium. I know at least 4 people right now that are trying to cut back on sodium, some because of advice from doctors and some just because thy think sodium is bad for people. So, I presume, it’s a marketing thing. Who knows, maybe its cheaper too.

grettle, I know salt substitutes use potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride to provide the salty taste. I’m sure seasoning salts do the same thing to reduce the sodium levels. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about good old table salt, the kind marketed as “salt”, not “salt substitute”. Regular iodized salt uses potassium iodide to provide the iodine. Why not use sodium iodide, since you already expect to be getting sodium? My guess is because humans need potassium too so why not mix it with the iodide, that potassium iodide is more stable than sodium iodide (witness the stability issue and using dextrose), that potassium iodide is somehow easier/cheaper to come by, or some combination of those.

Dogface, I’m aware other products exist, I was just curious why regular old table salt would have an ingredients list, when it should “obviously” just be sodium chloride, and maybe sodium iodide.

There is nothing “obvious” about what “should” go into table salt. There is no legal restriction (or very little restriction) on what can go into it. Sugar is added specifically for flavor–yes, Morton’s canning salt does taste different from Morton’s table salt. We sodium silicoaluminate (sand) is added specifically to permit it to flow on humid days (Morton’s motto: “When it rains, it pours.” refers specifically to this property). As for using potassium iodide, that may just be a matter of cost. The concentration of NaI vs. NaCl is negligible in regards to sodium uptake. The concentratino of KI is negligible in regard of potassium requirements.

For a fascinating read (and a slight hi-jack), let me recommend Salt.

Pash

Dogface, what do you mean there’s nothing obvious about it? I’ve grown up being told salt is sodium chloride. Therefore, it would seem obvious that table salt should be sodium chloride. The fact that there are other ingredients in table salt is, therefore, not obvious to me, and thus my dismay at reading an ingredients list on a salt package. Perhaps it is just that I was lied to. Or maybe it’s just that the traditional explanations are worrying about the bulk of the product, and the additives are considered irrelevant. But I was honestly not aware there was other stuff in table salt but sodium chloride, except I knew it was iodized. To me, that meant sodium iodide, but I’m not particularly surprised it is potassium idodide. But those other ingredients were definitely a surprise. Thus my initial post.

The fact that you’ve been “told” something doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true or how things should be. My grandmother grew up being told all manner of nonsense about people of non-“white” descent.

There’s a difference between: “Well, what a surprise. That’s not what I expected.” and “That is not as it should be.”

The baking soda has me baffled. Did I miss it, or has nobody found an explantion for it? It couldn’t be more than a minute amount or it would begin to take on a bitter, soapy flavor. I would have a hard time believing it is a flow agent since baking soda gets awfully clumpy, too.

Sodium bicarbonate can also function as a buffer to regulate acidity; it is sometimes used as a food additive for this purpose. This may well be the reason it is in table salt.

And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Irishman wanting to know what additives are in his food. (Despite Dogface’s bizarre reference to racism.)

That’s true, but since salt has no hydrogen atoms I can’t imagine how it would need to be buffered. :confused:

Hey, anybody still interested, I found this page:
http://curezone.org/foods/salt/what_kind_of_additives.htm

It lists all ingredients allowed in table salt, including their concentration limit levels and function. According to this table, sodium bicarbonate is used as a stabilizer for the potassium iodide. Hmmm, no limit actually listed, just a reference to another document.

No reason listed for why iodine is in the potassium iodide form, but since it seems universal I’m going to suggest it’s either much cheaper and easier to come by, or sodium iodide has significantly more stability problems.

I note that for function, they list

Aren’t the first three the same thing?

Hey, anybody still interested, I found this page:
http://curezone.org/foods/salt/what_kind_of_additives.htm

It lists all ingredients allowed in table salt, including their concentration limit levels and function. According to this table, sodium bicarbonate is used as a stabilizer for the potassium iodide. Hmmm, no limit actually listed, just a reference to another document.

No reason listed for why iodine is in the potassium iodide form, but since it seems universal I’m going to suggest it’s either much cheaper and easier to come by, or sodium iodide has significantly more stability problems.

I note that for function, they list

Aren’t the first three the same thing?

He stated an opinion as what salt “should” have and based that opinion on what he “had been told”. I brought up an example of something that I “had been told” that was patently false as a means of illustrating to not presume that what one “had been told” is the way things SHOULD be done.

Thanks for focusing on a minor aspect of the wording and blowing it completely out of proportion, rather than looking at the point. What is salt? Sodium chloride.
http://www.saltinstitute.org/15.html

http://kids.infoplease.lycos.com/ce6/sci/A0845791.html

http://nautilus.fis.uc.pt/st2.5/scenes-e/elem/e01100.html

http://w2.xrefer.com/results.jsp?term=salt&Submit.x=23&Submit.y=10

http://w2.xrefer.com/entry.jsp?xrefid=538186&secid=.-&JServSessionIdxrefer=kri1avwyi2&hh=1

Perhaps you would have preferred me to say, “Science defines salt as sodium chloride,” or “The compound refered to as salt is sodium chloride,” or some other phrasing. The point is the same. Salt is sodium chloride. Table salt is just a form of salt packaged for cooking and applying to food. Seems to me that means it’s sodium chloride, not sodium chloride plus a dozen other substances.

Ooh, yet more info on salt ingredients, explaining how the various additives protect the iodine.

http://www.saltinstitute.org/iodide.html

[smart-aleck-y nitpick]
Technically, “science” defines ‘salt’ as a byproduct of the neutralization of an acid and base that contains no H+ or some other thing I’m too tired to remember.
[/nitpick]