Chinese Police: Salt of the Earth

Salt is necessary for life. The human body requires a small amount of sodium to conduct nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and maintain the proper balance of water and minerals. It is estimated that we need about 500mg of sodium daily for these vital functions. For decades, most Chinese salt producers didn’t derive their salt from ocean water, which meant that iodine deficiency was a major health problem in China. So, in 1994, the Chinese government took steps to eliminate sources of non-iodized salt by creating “salt police” — a unit of 25,000 police officers who enforce the government’s exclusive right to produce and sell salt. The salt police patrol remote regions where smugglers sell poor people illegal salt that’s cheaper, but not iodized. By 2000, 90% of China’s 1.3 billion people were eating iodized salt, up from 10% in the 1980s. That means that more than 18 million of the 20 million children born annually in China have a better chance of good brain development.