Below you will find information on child and other labor issues in salt production; this is followed by the Israel connection. Then you will find some information on why you actually need salt—so don’t completely boycott all salt! After that you will find information on Ethical Salt; if that is all you need to read, please scroll down.
Child and other labor issues:
Bangladesh—for documentation of child labor in salt mines, scroll down at the link to the second chart; the first entry under ‘Industry’ is what you are looking for, it has links to more information. http://www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/bangladesh.htm
Cambodia—Child labor documentation, similar to the above; scroll down at the link to the second chart. The second entry under ‘Industry’ documents child labor for production of salt with links to more information. http://www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/cambodia.htm
India—“In India's salt-producing area thousands of families - including children as young as 10 - toil in the desert using a harvesting technique unchanged in centuries.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatnews/7305988/Salt-mining-leaves-bitter-taste-for-Indian-workers.html
Kenya—“Due to low education levels and high poverty rates most of salt farm employees still work under extremely poor conditions; they lack essential safety gears like gloves, boots, helmets, overcoats, scrapers and basins. Long term exposure to brine and associated chemicals . . . results into numerous health complications to the field workers. Salt farming in the region is also related to severe ecological issues at Kenya’s coastal strip.” http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol_3_No_3_February_2013/21.pdf
Korea— “ . . . disabled people forced to work under slave-like conditions, which later revealed the wider inhumane labor conditions across the salt producing industry.” http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2014/02/116_151780.html
Niger—while no specific figures are given for children working in salt mines, the figure for a different type of mine was that child labor made up 43% of the mine workers. Also see the link below for Sengal, which directly addresses Niger’s children working in salt mines. http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2000/01/chld-j07.html
Sengal—“The boys generally dig the pits, maintain them and fill sacs of between 18 and 25 kg
(worth 10 to 15 Fcfa each). Girls, generally accompanied by their mothers, help pile the sand, put it in bags and transport it. In some places girls carry loads of salt on their heads in tubs for up 15 kilometres to the nearest pick-up point.” http://www.ilo.org/ipec/areas/Miningandquarrying/MoreaboutCLinmining/lang--en/index.htm
Israel is in the salt business, and they target children with human rights abuses.
For information on the later please see ‘Palestinian Children Under Attack:’
And ‘Don’t Fund Real Horror:’ http://boycott4peace.blogspot.com/2014/10/dont-fund-real-horror.html
Here are a few details about Israel’s salt export business:
Israel is the world’s largest exporter of inorganic compounds, an export category that includes salt:
Israel marketed 421 metric tons of salt in 2010: http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/country/2010/myb3-2010-is.pdf
In 2012 Israel’s salt exports were valued at $21,595,000 in US Dollars.
An Israeli Investment firm ran by Shari Arison recommends investing in Israeli salt. She is ranked No. 64 in ‘Forbes World's 100 Most Powerful Women,’ according to her web site: http://www.shariarison.com/en/content/arison-investments-company-salt-earth
There are a number of Israeli salt businesses, ‘Salt of the Earth’ is just one, and possibly the worst: http://salt.co.il/index.php?sitelang=en
According to ‘Who Profits,’ ‘Salt of the Earth,’ also known as ‘Melach Ha'aretz,’ and another Arison brand, ‘Salit,’ are all exploiting Palestinian resources and operating out of illegally occupied Palestine for Israeli profit. Israeli salt is not only sold under brand names, it is sold in bulk as an unbranded or generic commodity, and can be packaged under many brand names. Simply boycotting these brands (which of course you should do) will not guarantee that Israeli salt will not make it into your salt shaker. Check the label on all salt for country of origin information. If it isn’t stated that salt could come from anywhere. The best way to know that your salt is ethically sourced and supports ethical business practices is to purchase Fair Trade Certified salt or salt from a known ethical brand. Keep reading, we tell you how to find ethical salt below. Meanwhile, here’s ‘Who Profit’s’ scoop on ‘Salt of the Earth:’ http://www.whoprofits.org/company/israel-salt-company
Please don’t skip your salt unless you are under doctors orders! Salt is necessary for life. While we know that too much salt does us harm, not enough salt can be just as harmful. Salt helps regulate water balance in our cells, it is involved in the micro-electrical systems that regulate and empower our muscles, and it helps usher nutrients into our cells as well as helping eliminate cellular waste. Many people feel that raw minimally processed salt is far better for our bodies than the highly processed corporate salt. The brands recommended below are not only ethical; they are healthy tasty life giving salt. For more information on the benefits of natural salt please see: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/05/end-war-on-salt.aspx
Ethical Salt is Available!
Salt is a commodity, often sold in bulk and packaged by various brands—so avoiding a few brands isn’t likely to be a useful strategy. ‘Real Salt,’ ‘Celtic Sea Salt,’ and ‘Aloha Bay’ are the ethical brands that we have researched, however there are probably more. (If you know of others, please leave a comment!)
Many countries, regions, and even communities have small salt works producing sustainable, ethical salt for the table. Check with your local farmers' market, co-op, or natural food store and see what they have to offer. To avoid commodity salt, you want to buy it in a package of some kind, rather than bulk—unless the bulk salt offered is single-sourced. Read the label on the package (or the bulk container) and look for country of origin information. If it comes from a country where you know there are ethical or labor problems or if it doesn’t say where it’s from, look for ‘Fair Trade Certified’ or ‘Certified Organic.’ Products involved in child or slave labor, or other ethical issues are denied both of these certifications. If it isn’t Fair Trade Certified, Certified Organic, and if there is no country of origin information, (or if it is from Israel) don’t buy it. It is likely to be an unethically produced product. Bear in mind, just because a product claims to be Fair Trade or Organic doesn’t make it so. Always look for the word ‘Certified.’
If you can’t find acceptable salt locally, there are a number of companies that offer it on-line. Here in the US Azure Standard * carries both Celtic Sea Salt and Real Salt: https://www.azurestandard.com/
Aloha Bay, markets Fair Trade Certified pink Himalayan salt from ancient deposits in Pakistan, you can order on-line directly from them: http://www.alohabay.com/products/tablesalt/table_salt.html
Celtic Sea Salt, is produced from sea salt in France and is available from many on-line retailers. Here is one example: http://healthfree.com/shop/index.php?l=product_list&c=3
Real Salt, produced from ancient salt deposits in Utah, can be purchased by phone or on-line: http://www.realsalt.com/
* Besides salt, Azure Standard offers many other ethical, natural, healthy, organic options for the table, kitchen, and home. They deliver dry goods throughout the US via UPS and they have truck routes that also deliver produce and frozen foods to drop points in many large and midsized towns. Orders under $50.00 are charged a minimal handling fee. Their prices, however, are very competitive.
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