Fact Check: Potassium Ferrocyanide (E536) Used In Table Salt Does NOT Cause Death

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Potassium Ferrocyanide (E536) Used In Table Salt Does NOT Cause Death Safe Additive

Does table salt lead to death because it contains Potassium ferrocyanide? No, that's not true: Potassium ferrocyanide (E536) is used as a food additive that prevents the formation of lumps, with a maximum quantity authorized in the EU falling below toxicity levels.

The claim originated from a video published by TikTok user @mdshopoficial on July 31, 2023, (archived here), with the following description (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff):

The Carcinogenic Ingredient E536 💔 #foryou #fyp #5pasidebine #romania

Users also saw this caption (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff):

Salt = 😱 WHITE 😱 DEATH

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-08-08 at 13.28.41.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Aug 8 10:25:13 2023 UTC)

Ferrocyanides (E 535-538) are authorized food additives in the EU at a maximum of 20 mg/kg - through Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), whose Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food provided a scientific opinion in 2018 after re-evaluating the safety ferrocyanides as food additives.

This current authorized level raises no safety concern, as absorption of ferrocyanides is low, with no accumulation in humans, and "there is no concern with respect to genotoxicity and carcinogenicity."

Potassium ferrocyanide (E536) has long been used as an anticaking agent (an additive placed in powdered or granulated materials) to prevent the formation of lumps.

The specific table salt shown in this clip has, according to its Romanian producer's website, a maximum concentration of 10 mg/ kg of Potassium ferrocyanide.

The speaker also claims that Potassium ferrocyanide decomposes to form cyanide in the body. But Potassium cyanide (KCN), highly toxic, is produced by treating hydrogen cyanide with an aqueous solution of potassium hydroxide.

There is no scientific evidence that Potassium ferrocyanide is carcinogenic, as searches using these terms in Google Scholar's and Google News' indexes of credible scholarly literature and news sites offer no relevant results.

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  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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