Beware of “anti-caking agents” in salt (and sea salt)!

As you may or may not be aware, most table salts contain quite a few ingredients. Some of these are “anti-caking agents” which function to keep the salt granules from clumping together so your salt will fall freely through the holes of your salt shaker. There are anti-caking agents in table salt, sea salt, and both iodized and non-iodized versions of both. If you wish to avoid such ingredients, just inspect the containers in the salt aisle until you find one whose ingredients list contains solely: “salt.”  And don’t assume, as I did, that just because a salt is coarse and comes in a fancy grinder that it is free of additives. Not true – check the label every time!

Several years ago at my aunt’s house, I was introduced to the ingredient, “yellow prussiate of soda.” I was enjoying some baked cabbage with my aunt that we made ourselves with just cabbage, olive oil and sea salt. By the time I finished eating, I had the worst hot flash!! My face was beat red, and I was literally running for the fan in the next room!! (And I never have hot flashes!) I couldn’t believe that this could’ve been caused by anything I’d just eaten, but I also couldn’t deny the timing of the reaction! Cabbage, olive oil and sea salt seemed like pretty “pure” ingredients to me, but I double-checked the ingredients just in case – and there it was on the back of the Morton sea salt: “yellow prussiate of soda (anti-caking agent).

Can I prove that my hot flash was from this additive? I suppose not, since I’m not willing to eat that salt again. However, I can tell you that I had never seen that ingredient on a food label before (and I pretty much read labels for a living!); the salt I use everyday at home does not contain it; I eat baked cabbage using this same recipe at home all the time with no effects…and I never, ever have hot flashes otherwise. So you be the judge!

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8 thoughts on “Beware of “anti-caking agents” in salt (and sea salt)!

  1. I had bought sea salt last year. No additives then. Now I can’t find any kind of salt without the anti caking agent. I had bought one recently and it had that yellow prussiate of soda and returned it after being iffy about using it.
    Thanks for the article.

    • Try Himalayan salt, or Redmond Natural Trace Mineral salt. There are no additives in either of these, nor are they super-heated to ~1,200F, as table salt is, which reportedly changes the way salt is utilized by the body. See Dr. Mercola’s website for more info. (no affiliation)

  2. I am looking for a non-iodine salt without caking agents/chemicals for my son. He has thyroid cancer at age 15 and cannot have iodine for 2 weeks prior to his scan. Do you know of any? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Thanks for the info!! What brand of salt do you like to use? I have your Eating Additive Free Book and find it very valuable. I am trying to eat healthier and your information is so helpful!! It is crazy how chemicals etc can effect your body. Just last week I was out of town for work, ate out at restaurant and had an omelette. Hours later I had the worst stomach ache and eventually it made me throw up. Yikes!! Should have gotten a salad! Thanks for all of your help.

    • Hi Jenny!
      I’m glad you’re enjoying the book! I don’t use any one particular brand of salt, but I do often buy the sea salt at Costco that comes in a grinder…or just any other salt at whatever store I happen to be at — as long as the label reads clean. I have used a “natural” sea salt by Morton brand – – and I feel pretty confident that it is free of additives because it sure DID clump together in my salt shaker🙂 Yes, going out to eat can be a challenge. Generally, we just don’t bother, as it is incredibly tricky to know what may be in the dishes. Of course, salads have their own issues (e.g., dressings), too😦 Take care!

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