China Urge Shoppers Not to Worry after Markets run out of salt

Online retailers in parts of China ran out of salt on Thursday after Japan began discharging nuclear-contaminated water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant, setting off a buying frenzy among anxious consumers.

One of the world’s biggest seafood importers, China banned all supplies of aquatic products from Japan in response to the discharge, citing the risk of radioactive contamination and fuelling consumer fears.

Several brands of salt were sold out on online food delivery sites in Shanghai as well as in parts of Beijing.

China urges shoppers not to hoard salt after Fukushima discharge

Jiang Xiaowei

Morton Salt at Sam’s Supermarket in Zhenru limits purchases to two pieces per day for each member.

“It’s really not necessary to hoard salt, but when I saw loads of people panic-buying this morning, I quietly ordered 10 packets,” wrote one user on the microblogging platform Weibo.

“I bought lake salt and salt from salt mines. I now avoid sea salt.”

Shelves in one Beijing supermarket had been stripped of salt, social media pictures showed, while media said shares in some Chinese saltwater purification firms surged as much as a tenth.

China’s only central state-owned enterprise in the salt industry, China National Salt Industry Corporation, has assured the public that the country’s salt supply is safe for consumption.

The group stated that over 87 percent of China’s table salt comes from salt mines, 10 percent from the sea, and 3 percent from lakes, and that the production of mine and lake salt is not impacted by the Fukushima incident.

With a yearly production capacity exceeding 10 million tons, China has a sound system to ensure a secure supply of salt products.

Industry groups and authorities in the coastal provinces of Fujian and Guangdong also tried to reassure consumers.

Officials in Fujian’s city of Fuzhou said on social media to “ensure supply chain stability and sufficient stocks of culinary salt,” and urged people to “rationally buy salt according to their needs.”

China urges shoppers not to hoard salt after Fukushima discharge

Jiang Xiaowei

A woman shops for salt at Sam’s supermarket in Zhenru, Putuo District, Shanghai, August 24.

State-owned Guangdong Salt Industry Group told media that the provincial government had sufficient salt reserves, adding that its tests showed locally produced sea salt was safe.

China has strict food safety rules, with sufficient domestic salt production to meet demand, so customers should not hoard the seasoning, the director of the China Salt Industry Association told media.

Source: Reuters   Editor: Wang Xiang

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