Have you ever looked at a lab report and thought you knew what it meant only to find out you were reading it incorrectly? Maybe your lab report was results from a blood test or something in science class. Well, sometimes this happens to other people, too. Like marketing departments. We think we know what we’re looking at and sweet! we’ve got a higher mineral count than all those other salt companies, let’s tout that on our labels immediately…but then, as it turns out…ummm… oops… we got it sorta wrong.
You see, marketing departments are pretty great at doing things like crafting catchy slogans and connecting with key demographics, but we’re not always the best at doing things like interpreting in-depth lab analyses. You’re shocked, we can feel it. We were, too. (We hate knowing we have limits.) So, we don’t blame the other guys for making those claims, but the fact of the matter is, they can’t back them up.
Theoretically, a natural salt from either a current ocean or an ancient ocean will have about 84 trace minerals, however, some of those are in such minuscule amounts that lab equipment isn’t sensitive enough to detect them. The most a lab can realistically find is about 50 or 60. And that’s where the confusion starts.
When you read an elemental analysis you can see everything tested for and found as well as everything tested for and not found. For people who aren’t familiar with reading a report of this kind (like marketing departments), it’s pretty easy to mistake elements that were “detectable” with elements that were “non-detectable.” When looking over the report you’ll notice a little “< ” symbol near some of the minerals. If you reach way back into your third grade math memory file, you’ll remember that symbolizes “less than,” and more technically in this instance, “no quantities of this analyte were detected above the stated limit.” That’s an easy statement for marketing departments to spin, because what it means is that the lab tested for those things and couldn’t detect any at the stated threshold, but if they could test to a lower level it’s possible they would find it. It’s the lab version of “We can’t prove it but we can’t disprove it, either.”
It’s important to remember that we’re talking about Parts Per Million; if there is 1 part per million (ppm) in a given substance, it would equate to 0.0001% of the substance. Any lab tech worth their salt (ha) will tell you that when you’re dealing with limits of this size your results can vary slightly even with back to back tests of the exact same sample. That slight variation can be the difference between “detectable” and “non-detectable.” In fact, if you compare the “Real Salt Lab Analysis” with the “Real Salt Elemental Analysis” you’ll see 75+ elements listed on one and only about 60 elements listed on the other. The shorter list excludes the minerals that were technically not found. Sure, in theory there are 84 minerals, but we prefer science over theory. One day lab equipment may advance and become more sensitive, allowing us to find all 84 of those theoretical minerals, but for now, we’re only claiming the ones we can prove.
We’re not trying to throw other companies under the bus and we don’t believe they’re trying to be dishonest; they simply might not know how to read their own analyses or we may have different approaches to interpreting them for the purposes of marketing.
Regardless of marketing spin, Real Salt is a complete natural sea salt. It is unrefined with nothing added and nothing removed, containing all of the minerals that nature put in place—all 60 or 84 of them, depending on who you ask.