IODINE SALT. A salt farm in Pasuquin town, Ilocos Norte province in this undated photo. To prevent iodine deficiency, the Ilocos Norte government on Tuesday (Dec. 20, 2022) reminded salt manufacturers to mix iodine in their salt products. (Photo by Leilanie Adriano)

LAOAG CITY – The Ilocos Norte government through its provincial nutrition office is urging local salt producers to comply with the national salt iodization program to control iodine deficiency disorders (IDD).

Provincial nutritionist Elma Irapta said Tuesday that some salt makers in the province, particularly in Pasuquin town, were found to be not fully complying with Republic Act 8172 or the so-called Act on Salt Iodization Nationwide (ASIN).

Irapta said they have requested funding for the purchase of an iodine testing machine to regularly monitor if the prescribed iodine content being sold to consumers is properly observed.

“Based on the latest survey conducted by the Bureau of Foods and Drugs Administration, it showed that the iodine content is lacking in salt products distributed to local consumers,” she said in a phone interview.

Reports said the salt products only contained 0.5 ppm of iodine content which is lower than the prescribed 30 ppm and above iodine content.

According to Irapta, intensified salt testing and monitoring activities in sample households, markets, sari-sari stores, and groceries will secure the nutritional well-being of consumers, particularly among children, pregnant, and lactating women.

In the salt-producing town of Pasuquin, for example, several salt manufacturers in the area admitted to customers that they were not mixing iodine into their salt products.

“We don’t mix iodine because some of our loyal buyers, particularly those who are producing bagoong (fish sauce) request for it,” said one salt manufacturer from Davila village who requested anonymity.

According to nutrition experts, the effectiveness of the salt iodization program lies in the iodine mixed with the salt given that it is the simplest, cheapest, and most effective ingredient being used and consumed daily by people.

To maximize its effectivity, iodized salt is suggested for use in dipping and not much in cooking because the food’s iodine content is lessened when cooked as it can easily evaporate.

It is recommended that iodized salt should be placed in a non-transparent, dark container, and away from the heat so that the iodine will not dissolve.

Iodine deficiency has been studied to be the cause of stunted growth and mental retardation among children; miscarriage or birth of babies with abnormalities in pregnant women, deaf mutism, and goiter. (PNA)