This week shoppers in China cleared salt from supermarkets shelves amid fears of a potential radiation crisis from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Although Government officials tried to calm fears by emphasizing that radiation levels in 41 cities across China remain normal, many Chinese have gone into full panic mode. Staff from multiple branches of the French supermarket chain Carrefour reported that their supplies of salt have been sold out since Thursday morning in Beijing.
Triggered by the belief that salt could prevent radiation-related illnesses and to secure uncontaminated salt sources, shoppers are hoarding as much salt as they can. One customer in the eastern city of Ningbo told the nation’s CCTV that she had purchased a five-year supply to placate her family’s fears of radiation. Another idiot named Michael Zeng, a 21-year-old college student in Beijing, said “it’s always safe to do what the majority are doing.”
Fears of a salt shortage also spread to Hong Kong, where many supermarkets ran out of salt as nervous shoppers stocked up on supplies. In fact, as I checked yesterday afternoon, even soy sauce, other basic cooking condiments and rice have been entirely cleared out from supermarket shelves.
Anyone who has bothered to check Wikipedia would know iodine in iodized salt is ineffective for preventing radiation effects, according to the World Health Organization. It would take 80 tablespoons of salt to make up one prophylactic, or preventative, iodide tablet. Further, only a fraction of China’s salt for consumption comes from the sea, said Song Zhangjing, a spokesman for industry organization the China Salt Association. “In China, most salt are from salt mines.”
In brief, there is no reason to hoard salt at all and those who do are complete fools.