Salt Collection Methods and What Makes Food Grade Salt Different?

Food grade salt is the purest form of salt you can buy. The typical range is 99.7 to 99.99% pure sodium chloride (NaCl).

How is it possible to achieve such a high percentage of purity? The answer is evaporation. Two of the main three salt collecting methods use a form of evaporation and are responsible for the majority of food grade salt production

Salt Collecting Methods – The Big Three

1. Mining

Machines drill and blast salt deposits and lift them up to the surface. This process brings with it many impurities, however, and its product of rock salt is most often used for ice melt and other settings where purity is not the top priority. This is often the least expensive form of harvesting salt.

2. Solar Evaporation

Food grade salt from solar evaporation is the oldest method of collection, and it’s exactly as its name describes. Saltwater is left in shallow pits for the sun to evaporate the water, and then the crystals of salt are collected. This produces a very pure salt crystal with a sodium chloride percentage of around 99.6 to 99.8%

3. Vacuum Evaporation

The highest grade of purity needed for food and chemical grade salt is produced by vacuum evaporation. Brine is pumped into vacuum pans and steam heat is used to boil the salt. A chain of these vacuum chambers is linked together and the pressure drops in each chamber in order to allow the brine to boil at lower temperatures. The resulting salt precipitate is harvesting. The salt produced is very high quality and typically a very small grain.

Food grade salt isn’t just for salting your meat and potatoes, though. Food grade salt is used for anything that requires the highest purity available. Pharmaceutical companies also use this grade of salt in order to maintain proper chemical ratios in their products.

In addition to serving as a base ingredient, pharmaceutical-grade salt can be utilized in various ways to maintain proper chemical ratios in pharmaceutical products:

1. Buffering Agent: Salt can act as a buffering agent to regulate the pH of pharmaceutical formulations. This is crucial for maintaining stability and effectiveness of active ingredients.

2. Osmotic Agent: Certain pharmaceutical formulations use salt to control osmotic pressure, influencing drug release rates and absorption in the body.

3. Stabilizing Agent: Salt can stabilize formulations by preventing degradation of active ingredients, ensuring product potency and shelf-life.

4. Excipient: Pharmaceutical-grade salt may serve as an excipient, aiding in the manufacturing process and facilitating the desired physical characteristics of the final product, such as tablet hardness or particle size.

5. Solubility Enhancer: Salt can enhance the solubility of poorly soluble drugs, improving their bioavailability and effectiveness in the body.

6. Preservative: In some cases, salt may function as a preservative, inhibiting microbial growth and maintaining product integrity throughout its shelf-life.

7. Carrier for Electrolytes: Certain pharmaceutical formulations, such as oral rehydration solutions or intravenous fluids, utilize salt as a carrier for essential electrolytes to restore electrolyte balance in the body.

Overall, pharmaceutical-grade salt plays a critical role in ensuring the quality, stability, and efficacy of pharmaceutical products by helping to maintain proper chemical ratios and supporting various functions within formulations.

Check out The Cope Company’s food-grade salt products here!

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