Goes back a way, this one, but the continuing wave of promotion of Himalayan rock salt lamps and their supposed health benefits is bugging me a great deal.
It’s been a while since my urban warrior collective had a day out, so I decided to let them loose on the subject of healthfoods, a subject dear to the heart of the average crusty. It’s also a rich source of ocular wool pulling.
There’s a truly magnificent example of this to be found on an astonishingly large number of websites. And lets face it, 6,990,000 hits on Google is no small number. To find out what I’m talking about, here’s the link. https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=cr&ei=n33vUsO1DcfnywOwwYHICQ#q=organic+rock+salt&safe=active
You will find a truly bewildering array of marketing nonsense here, because the search term I used was ‘organic rock salt.’ Now pardon me, but just what is that supposed to mean?
‘Organic’ is one of those buzzwords, isn’t it? It means the sales people can crank the price up, since normally sensible folk will fork out extra money for the promise of dewpicked healthy freshness. That’s fine, it’s their choice. If I were in the organics market, I’d skin the punters as well. Market forces and all that.
I can see the reasoning behind organic produce. No pesticides, no artificial fertilisers, no growth hormones, I can appreciate the point. Happy hens lay better eggs kind of thinking. But organic salt? You dig salt out of the earth, you mine it. Or if you’re a bit fussy, you might crystallise it from seawater. But however you obtain it, it’s going to be salt, and it’s not going to be organic. It’s a mineral for goodness sake. Nobody would ever dream of calling granite or bauxite organic, nor diamonds for that matter. It’s not alive, and it isn’t ever going to need hormones or fertilisers in its production. All it needs is a shovel.
Maybe what the term ‘organic’ means when applied to good old (NaCl)n is that the blade of the shovel is made from recycled armoured vehicles, and the hafts are made of wood sourced from sustainable forests. I don’t know to be honest. But I can tell you this. Salt is salt, and to call it organic is a massively misleading PR exercise that verges on the fraudulent. It’s salt for goodness sake!
The really swanky sites refer to organic Himalayan rock salt. What? And the real sting here is that it doesn’t have to come from the clear skied, babbling brooked mountain range caused by India banging into Asia. Nope, no need at all for that. You can call it Himalayan even if you mine it in Cheshire. Organic is bad enough, but organic Himalayan? Somebody is pulling the qiviuts* over a lot of eyes.
One last point. Himalayan rock salt is also called ‘pink’ rock salt, or even ‘Himalayan pink’ rock salt. Not surprisingly, the reason for this is that it’s a browny pink colour. Now that’s interesting, do you not think? The things is that pure sodium chloride is a clear crystalline substance. Table salt looks white in the same way that snow, which is made of ice, also a clear crystalline solid, looks white. The pink colour is due to impurities. The rock salt may be organic, but it certainly isn’t pure by a long shot. If I were on the marketing team I’d be blathering on about vital trace elements or some such bollix, but that health giving salt is awash with impurities. Or contaminants if you will. Doesn’t sound quite so healthy now, does it?
*Qiviuts is the soft underhair of the coat of the musk ox, or a felted material made from it. It’s also a great Scrabble word, isn’t it, having both a q and a u, but not consecutively. Very useful.