Monday, March 21, 2011

Salt of the Earth

There's been panic buying of sea salt in China these past few days - in the belief that the iodine in it is some kind of magic talisman against the risk of radiation sickness or cancers from possible Fukushima fallout.

I didn't really need to buy anything myself, but I thought I'd look in at my usual supermarket, just to see how crazy things were getting. Indeed, two whole aisles had been given over to varieties of salt products, and there was a mighty throng around them, snatching up the last few remaining bags.

One old granny was hovering diffidently - or perhaps with amused indifference - at the edge of the crowd.  A younger woman noticed her, asked if she could help grab a bag of salt for her.  The old lady replied, "I think I'm all right, thank you. I've still got 10 kilograms of the stuff I bought during SARS."

[Me - I'm working on a home chemistry kit to extract the iodine, so you can ward off the thyroid cancer without fatally overdosing on salt. My next million dollar idea... if only I can get it to market quickly enough.]


JES said...

I would not wish devastation from natural disasters on anyone. But there's a comedy sketch waiting to be filmed, of crazy consumers rampaging through a supermarket in search of salt... only to be washed away in a tsunami. Especially after the waters recede and evaporate, leaving a film of sea salt on everything.

My imagination can be quite an ugly creature when it laughs.

Froog said...

Mobs of Chinese consumers are a tsunami unto themselves. Or a plague of locusts.

It's an interesting sign of growing consumer rights awareness here, though, that within a few days of the peak of the panic buying in the middle of last week, (slightly smaller) hordes were returning to the shops trying to get their money back: "What?!" You mean this won't make me radiation-proof??"

Gary said...

Good luck with that! You could make some money off that in California too.