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Science File / An exploration of issues and trends
affecting science, medicine and the environment

I Didn't Know That

June 11, 1998

Q: What is so special about sea salt, as compared to regular salt?

A: Nothing, except that sea salt is much more expensive, according to the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter. Sea salt has no nutritional advantage and isn't less or more salty tasting. Like regular table salt, sea salt must contain at least 97.5% sodium chloride. Unrefined sea salt, made by evaporation of seawater, contains small amounts of magnesium, sulfur and calcium, but it is never sold as edible salt. By the time sea salt is cleaned and processed for the table, it is virtually identical to regular salt. And regular salt contains an essential mineral--iodine--that is not present in sea salt. Regular salt may, in fact, be evaporated from seawater or from the Great Salt Lake in Utah without saying so on the label.

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