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In 2003 the Bavarian consumer protection agency Bayerisches Landesamt für Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit (the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety) analyzed 15 specimens of Himalaya salt sold in Germany and could detect at least ten different minerals, in addition to sodium chloride (98%).
The chemical composition of Himalayan salt includes 95–96% sodium chloride, contaminated with 2–3% polyhalite and small amounts of ten other minerals. The pink color is due to iron oxide.
It is commonly used in cooking, in place of other table salt, in brine, and for bath products such as bath salts. Blocks of salt are also used as serving dishes and in the preparation of food. Fish and some meats can be preserved for use in certain dishes, and blocks of salt can be slowly heated to a temperature of around 400 degrees Fahrenheit and used as a cooking surface thereafter.