Irrational salt buying

Updated: 2011-03-18 07:52

(China Daily)

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It is absolutely right and timely for the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to issue a notice on Thursday to calm the panic buying of salt and salt-related foods because of residents' fears that the nuclear crisis in Japan will contaminate the salt they eat.

With the public's concern escalating about the worsening nuclear situation in Japan, some Chinese residents are worrying about the impact the radiation leaks from the crippled nuclear reactors will have on their lives.

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Some people have rushed to supermarkets to buy packs of iodized salt, as they believe the iodine contained in the salt may help prevent radiation poisoning or because they believe that the salt produced from contaminated seawater will be unsafe to eat. This explains the panic buying that has taken place in some places along the coast.

Experts have already informed the public via the Internet that the iodine contained in salt will not help resist radiation. And it is impossible that contaminated seawater will be used to produce edible salt. Even if radiation from Japan's crippled nuclear reactors has contaminated the seawater along China's coast, the salt produced from the various salt lakes in the inland areas will be far more than enough for residents to consume.

It is timely for the NDRC to require local price regulators to crack down on the hoarding of salt and salt-related goods and the raising of prices. It has been reported that a pack of salt is being sold for 10 yuan in some places, five times the price it normally sells for. Salt is a product controlled by the State and so is its price. It is illegal to raise the price.

The China National Salt Industry Corporation has announced that it will do its best to supply enough salt to meet the needs of the market and it has also organized a special group to coordinate the transport and supply of salt.

Most Chinese residents still don't know enough about what has happened to the nuclear reactors in Japan and to what degree the radiation leaks will affect neighboring countries. The State Council has already convened a meeting and a mechanism has been activated to monitor any radiation coming from Japan.

Now it is essential that the government keep residents timely informed of the possible impact Japan's nuclear crisis will have on this country.

We believe that the panic buying will soon end.

(China Daily 03/18/2011 page8)


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