I bought a small tin of Jacobsen Sea Salt which is all the rage in Portland, Oregon. I left it in my back pack for a few weeks and when I took it out and opened it up I am noticing some rust from the tin on the top of the salt flakes around the edges.

Is it still safe? It's not that much but its still concerning.

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3 Answers 3


Rust is iron oxide. The body needs some iron. We all drink some rust from pipes.

To be toxic the only number I found is 200 milligrams per kilogram is lethal. But I have a degree in chemical engineering and I am not sure what they mean by that.

As for iron the lethal dose is about 45 mg / day.

Just saw the picture - not enough to hurt you.

  • 3
    The source claims 100-200 mg/kg is a potentially lethal dose of iron oxide. That's 100-200 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. So a 150 pound person's (68kg) lethal dose would be 10.2 - 13.6 grams. That's a lot of rust.
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 4:56
  • Something of which 10 grams (assuming it is in an edible form, not a 10 gram nail through your brain) can be fatal isn't exactly harmless either (but then, table salt would be dangerous if you swallowed 10 grams at once :) Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 8:47
  • 1
    Elemental iron would behave very differently in the body to oxide. We're probably not very good at extracting iron form the oxide anyway.
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 9:41

While it would be safe enough for me, I'd avoid the rustiest bits on the basis of flavour. Either pick out the obviously orange bits and discard or spoon the clean salt out of the middle. Either way (and even if you decide to eat it as is) transfer the salt to a clean dry container made of something more sensible. Packing it in a steel tin might look nice but it's not ideal for storing salt.


Funny. I was just searching about this as I have the same tin of Jacobsen Salt with a little rust. It's too good not to enjoy. Should be fine, as the last commenter mentioned, just avoid the most obviously orange ones, the rest should be great.

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