Koronadal City, South Cotabato – The 8th National Nutrition Survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) in 2013 showed that the prevalence of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) in the SOCCSKSARGEN region is moderately high among school children, pregnant, and lactating women due to inadequate iodine intake. This was disclosed by Dr. Francisco Mateo, OIC-ARD of DOH XII, during a recent meeting of the Regional Nutrition Committee XII.
“The government has been continuously exerting effort to combat the IDD. In fact, in response to the alarming high prevalence of IDD, Republic Act (RA) 8172 or the ASIN law was passed in 1995. The said law has been considered as a major step to minimize and eventually eliminate IDD through the cost-effective preventive measure of salt iodization,” Dr. Mateo added.
Dr. Mateo explained that RA 8172 provides for the mandatory iodization of all salt, whether locally produced or imported and distributed for retail selling, and are intended for human and animal consumption. The ASIN Law also requires the use of iodized salt in processed food and in food establishments.
Although most of the salt sold or distributed in the region is already iodized, there is still a need to monitor if the said salt has adequate iodine content or its iodine level is within the required level. This can be measured using an iodine level checker.
For this reason, the former Salt Iodization Monitoring Group of the region under the RNC was re-organized and renamed as Regional Bantay Asin Task Force (RBATF) primarily to support the regulation and monitoring of adequate iodized salt conducted by the Food and Drug Administration and ensure that only adequately-iodized salt are being sold in the region.
To effectively address the concern on IDD, the FNRI study recommends to the monitoring group to increase the level of awareness of the people on the health benefits that could be derived from using iodized salt and the proper handling and storage of iodized salt. In addition, it is very important to conduct an iodine test from the production site to the retail market not only to ensure that adequately-iodized salt are readily available but as part of monitoring the implementation of the ASIN Law. (Helen L. Vestal/NEDA12-DRD)