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Relax, Diamond Crystal Salt Is Not Being Discontinued

What happened when food media Twitter fueled a panic over a possible salt shortage

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Colin McConnell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

No, Diamond Crystal salt is not being discontinued. A flurry of rumors that the cultish brand of kosher salt might be getting discontinued appeared to cause a run on the three-pound boxes of the product this week. Fortunately for taste buds everywhere, that chatter is simply not true, but where did these rumors even come from in the first place?

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat author, Netflix series host, and Diamond Crystal evangelist Samin Nosrat set off alarm bells among fiendish fans of the brand on Sunday with a vague, “Why, Diamond Crystal, why?” tweet. She later followed it up with a fuller note saying, “Rumor has it it’s been discontinued but I will call tomorrow to find out for sure. Or someone else can! But I need official facts. Will the 3# box still be available? Need to know.”

Given that Nosrat is a bona fide salt expert who often extols the virtues of Diamond Crystal, many followers suspected that if she’d heard it, the rumor must be credible — even as Nosrat stressed she was awaiting the official word. (Nosrat, keeping an ALL CAPS cool head, encouraged people to buy a box while she investigated.) Numerous food writers and chefs may have inadvertently stoked fears of Diamond Crystal’s demise by following that advice and posting about it on their social media feeds. Francis Lam of The Splendid Table shared an image of no less than nine of the three-pound boxes of salt on his Instagram feed, citing his need to take “no chances.” New York Times food columnist Alison Roman tweeted a screenshot of her Amazon cart, featuring four units of the three-pound boxes, with the sly note: “Honestly can’t be too careful.”

Others added to the pile with their takes on the rumors. One quickly chimed in with their casual observations of Diamond on grocery store shelves. Another Twitter user pointed out that the company’s St. Clair, Michigan, salt plant had just traded in its giant cylindrical salt container for an equally massive box of Diamond Crystal in October — not a typical move for a brand on its way out. Meanwhile, another Diamond Crystal devotee reported having investigated the rumor, and tweeted that brand manufacturer Cargill was “discontinuing distribution of that product and only selling it on their website for $53 per case of 12 boxes.”

Turns out, the internet rumblings proved false. Cargill’s official Twitter account came to dispel the salt rumors several hours later, declaring in Nosrat’s thread that the container sizes may change, but the kosher salt cooks rely on is not going away.

Despite Cargill’s and Nosrat’s best efforts to dial back the rumor mill, talk of a Diamond Crystal disappearance continued into the week. New York Times critic Tejal Rao followed up with an additional confirmation on Tuesday that the product is here to stay.

Stories of Diamond Crystal shortages and the discontinuation of certain brand packaging lines have been cycling through the bowels of the internet for nearly a year. A seven-month-old Reddit thread noted that several different styles of packaged Diamond Crystal were discontinued in 2018. That’s leading some Amazon sellers to hock the smaller cylinder containers for seriously inflated prices — up to $27.50 for a 16-ounce container.

Since then, other fans have turned to Reddit to lament the loss of certain containers. “Diamond Crystal is no longer making the 13 oz. shaker tubes for their kosher salt. I feel like I’ve been dumped. I am about to go buy a Morton’s shaker, empty it, paint it red, and fill it with Diamond,” commenter dbs176 wrote two months ago in another thread. Most recently, a Reddit user alliserismysir shared word on r/Cooking that their local market that Diamond Crystal had been discontinued by the grocer’s distributor. This thread titled “Diamond Crystal Discontinued?” may well have been the source of the latest bout of salt panic.

Cargill has been the clear winner of this misinformation campaign. The company may have set the record straight, but it also enjoyed the free brand advertising and increased sales of its product. Tom Philpott of Mother Jones even questioned Cargill directly about whether it had fueled the false rumors for profit, which the company denied.

Eater reached out for further confirmation from Cargill just to be crystal clear about the future of Diamond Crystal on store shelves. “We continue to offer an array of products, including the popular 3lb Kosher box,” a representative for the company writes. “While we’ve changed some of our packaging and container sizes in the past year, we don’t have any plans to stop producing or distributing to our customers — including retailers who make the product available to consumers on store shelves.” So there you have it, folks. Diamond Crystal isn’t going anywhere.