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Something smells behind stinky salt

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-08 07:39

Something smells behind stinky salt

Too much salt may be causing excessive urination at night, scientists believe. Provided To China Daily

THE SHENYING SALT COMPANY in Pingdingshan, Central China's Henan province, is recalling its rock salt products, which customers in several provinces have complained give off the odor of smelly feet when heated. Beijing Youth Daily commented on Friday:

Although the company has recalled over 7,000 tons of its salt products and further production has been halted, there are questions unanswered: Are the salt products really "harmless" as claimed, and how did the provincial salt management bureau came to that conclusion?

Questioned about the cause of the bad smell in March, the Henan company blamed butyric acid, a harmless chemical often found in goat's milk. While an inspection by the Henan provincial salt management bureau found that the salt did not conform to national standards, it said the bad smell is caused by several chemicals that are not harmful to humans.

But the salt quality supervision and inspection station of Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province, tested the stinky salt earlier and found nitrite traces, which are far from harmless. The investigation authorities in Tai'an, East China's Shandong province, also found hydrogen sulfide in the samples. These results warrant tests by a more authoritative third-party organization.

Why did it take the Henan authorities so long to disclose their test results is also a question worth asking. The complaints about the smelly salt were first exposed about two months ago, so too were the Nanjing and Tai'an tests, but the Henan provincial salt management bureau did not respond until the public outcry for "a proper explanation" became too loud to ignore in the past few days.

More important, it seems that those behind the scandal are yet to be held accountable. On the one hand, the substandard salt may pose a threat to public health. On the other hand, the company said in earlier reports that its products are sent to a third-party organization for quality tests every quarter. It is inconceivable that these testers did not notice the odor that was detectable even by human noses.

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