Salt Symposium hopes to teach people salt is more than food

Jun 19, 2018, 7:47 PM | Updated: 10:48 pm

PARK CITY, Utah – Hundreds of people from across the world gathered in Summit County for the World Salt Symposium. The meetings were held in Park City Tuesday.

Jan Olpin, owner of the Dairy Keen restaurant in Heber, Utah.

Chances are you’ve had it every day, but how much attention do you pay to salt?

Jan Olpin said she does.

“Umm, my entire life,” she said with a laugh.

Without salt, the food at her Dairy Keen restaurant in Heber might not taste as good as it already does.

“Salt is so important because without salt, everything can be bland,” said Olpin.

Dairy Keen french fries. Most of the food we eat contains some level of salt.

As mom and pop restaurants go, Dairy Keen has been one of the most popular in the state.

Olpin joked she would be out of business if customers didn’t like her food.

“Then again, if you have too much salt, then it’s too salty. So there’s that fine balance with salt,” she said.

Of course, even though most of us have thought about food when talking about salt, it’s used in a lot more than just food.

That was the main message during the World Salt Symposium being held in Park City.

More than 500 people involved in the salt industry from 40 countries came at Stein Erickson Lodge to talk about – and learn about – salt.

“People don’t think about how salt affects their lives, but it’s absolutely essential,” said Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute.

Speakers at the symposium focused not only on the health benefits of salt, but also how salt is used to keep roads clear of ice during winter months and how salt is used in pharmaceuticals.

“When you get in an ambulance, what’s the first thing they do? They hook up a saline drip. So salt is necessary for life,” said Roman.

The World Salt Symposium, held in Park City, Utah.

One man who knows what salt means for the world is Guy Wilkins.

The 97-year-old lives in Ogden, and because of his pioneering efforts in salt production, he just might be one of the most important people in the world for salt engineering techniques.

Wilkins has helped companies extract and produce salt all around the world.

“It was a job. I got paid for doing it,” he said.

Guy Wilkins, age 97, and his son look at his award from the Salt Institute.

The Salt Institute awarded Wilkins for his contributions to the industry.

“It was nice to have people think you’re worthwhile,” he said.

After receiving his award, many people took pictures with him and wanted to shake his hand.

For those of us who don’t quite understand meetings about salt anti-caking agent technology, or the thermodynamics of salt cavern extraction, there’s food.

When it’s good food, a good balance of salt is often the reason why.

“Almost everything has salt in it,” said Olpin.

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Salt Symposium hopes to teach people salt is more than food