Salt has been traded for thousands of years, and is the world's oldest additive.

For many years, it was thought to be a luxury item, accessible only by the wealthy. The Roman soldiers were paid with salt – hence the origin of the word “salary”. In China, salt bars stamped with the emperor’s seal were created and used as currency.

The earliest roads were built to transport salt, the earliest taxes were levied on it and military campaigns were launched to secure it. Salt gave Venice its start in the sixth century as the commercial capital of Europe, caused the French Revolution, nearly defeated Mao Tse-tung, and helped Ghandi bring India to independence.

Before recorded history, man learned salt’s key role in food safety and preservation. Today, food technologists rely on salt to satisfy consumer preferences in colour, texture, appearance and aroma.

Salt was, and continues to be, used in religious ceremonies as well as for medicinal purposes. Many believe it wards off evil spirits and demons responsible for illnesses.

Today salt is abundantly available and inexpensive. In many places, along with bread, salt continues to be a symbol of friendship and hospitality.

Expressions such as “salt of the earth” and “take (a story) with a grain of salt” reinforce its historical significance in many cultures.


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