Nutrition council intensifies campaign on the use of iodized salt

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 Oct) – The National Nutrition Council (NNC) 11 intensified its campaign for the use of iodized salt to counter iodine deficiency that is common among children from 16 to 12 years old and pregnant women.

Speaking during the Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City on Monday, Dr. Maria Theresa Ungson, NNC 11 coordinator, encouraged consumers to use iodized salt as this is the most affordable alternative to seafood in order to fill in the iodine deficiency which can lead to thyroid, hypothyroidism and mental retardation among infants.

She added mothers who suffer from iodine deficiency disorder during their pregnancy may affect the intelligence quotient of the babies.

“That’s already 13 points down in the infant’s IQ level,” she said.

She highlighted the importance of proper storage of the iodized salt at home, ensuring that it is kept in a closed container because an “opened package of table salt with iodine may rapidly lose its iodine content through the process of oxidation and iodine sublimination.”

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is also monitoring and testing the iodized salt being sold at the local markets if it is properly packed because they should comply with the 30 to 70 parts per million (ppm) requirement while 15 ppm when it reaches the households.

“Kung hindi tama ang pagka-store mag-escape ang iodine. We are more on regulation and monitoring our iodized salt in the marktet,” she said.

She admitted though that most of the available salt in the market are not iodine fortified because these are much cheaper.

The FDA defines iodine as “an element that is needed for the production of thyroid hormone. The body does not make iodine, so it is an essential part of your diet. Iodine is found in various foods. If you do not have enough iodine in your body, you cannot make enough thyroid hormone.”

“Iodine deficiency is the world’s most prevalent, yet easily preventable, cause of brain damage. Today, we are on the verge of eliminating it – an achievement that will be hailed as a major public health triumph that ranks with getting rid of smallpox and poliomyelitis,” it added.

FDA-Davao supervisor Deborah S. Legaspi added they are also monitoring the two licensed iodized salt manufacturers in the city to make sure that they have complied with the standards set by the agency.

The licensed manufacturers bear the Diamond Sangkap Pinoy Seal (DSPS) on the packing of their products based on the FDA circular issued in April 20015.

Legaspi added that the agency conducts a post-market surveillance and require the suppliers to secure license from them, although most of the iodized salt in the local market are coming from other regions.