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It is advised to use iodized salt

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    PUBLIC health experts urged the public to use iodized salt when cooking, revealing that Cebu is among the provinces in the country with a high prevalence of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) among pregnant and lactating women.

    Dr. Teofilo San Luis, national coordinator of the Iodine Global Network, said the use of “adequately iodized salt” is an effective preventive measure against IDD or goiter diseases.

    “This is (IDD) something that can easily be prevented using a very efficient, very cost-effective method of distributing iodine to the general population through the use of adequately iodized salt,” said San Luis during the introduction of the Thyromobile last Sept. 25, 2023, which aimed to provide young women and mothers with improved access to thyroid healthcare.

    Iodine deficiency can cause thyroid hormone insufficiency or hypothyroidism, leading to mental retardation, growth issues, physical deformities, miscarriages and stillbirths, according to the Department of Health (DOH) Facebook page.

    Based on a survey conducted by the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute, 15 provinces still exhibit a high prevalence of IDDs.

    These are the Mountain Province, Benguet, Pangasinan and Palawan in Luzon; Cebu, Antique, Capiz, Biliran and Western Samar in Visayas; and Bukidnon, Davao Occidental, South Cotabato, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Basilan in Mindanao.

    Parolita Mission, regional nutrition program coordinator of the National Nutrition Council 7, said salt iodization is an integral part of the DOH’s food fortification program.

    She said iodizing salt is a quick and practical strategy to increase iodine intake, as salt is one of the most commonly used condiments in households.

    To ensure that salt is properly iodized, the DOH has promoted the Sisa seal, which stands for “saktong iodine sa asin” or sufficient iodine in salt in English.

    It advised mothers to select salt brands displaying the Sisa seal, along with the logos of the DOH and the Food and Drug Administration, the health agency’s regulatory body.

    She encouraged the public to opt for iodized salt, whether it is rock or fine salt, carrying the Sisa seal.

    Mission said that at the regional level, the Regional Bantay Asin Task Force conducts regular inspections and collects salt samples from establishments to monitor iodine content.

    She said that if salt fails to meet the required parts per million (ppm) of iodization, it is removed from sale.

    “Every quarter we take salt samples in the establishments so that we can have [basis] when we will pull out the sale because it lacks iodine content,” said Mission.

    She said they also inspect producers to ensure they comply with iodization standards. If iodine levels are found to be insufficient, producers are required to re-iodize the salt before it reaches the market.

    San Luis said the standard iodization level of salt should be from 30 to 70 ppm, but this level tends to decrease to 15 to 45 ppm when salt reaches factories and markets.

    She said the public should know that when they store salt in a hot area in the kitchen, its iodine content drops.

    She said salt must be stored in a cool, dry place to preserve the iodine content.

    Mission also said that all kinds of salt for human consumption must be iodized based on the Asin Law, or the Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide.

    Under this law, potassium iodate or other suitable fortificant as recommended by DOH will be added to the salt.

    It also requires producers or manufacturers of food-grade salt to iodize the salt they produce, manufacture, import, trade or distribute.


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