The Department of Health has launched Sangkap Pinoy’s “Saktong Iodine sa Asin”, a quality seal for table salt to address iodine deficiency in the Philippines. Health authorities say that iodine is an important micronutrient needed by the body to achieve optimum mental and physical development. Iodine deficiency is a major health problem in the country since it reportedly affects one’s IQ development.
The “Saktong Iodine sa Asin” seal is awarded by the Food and Drug Adminis-tration (FDA) to all salt products that complied with those bearing 30-70ppm iodine. With this seal, all salt manufacturers (salt producers, re-packers, traders, importers) are required to supply only adequately-iodized salt in the market that is intended for human consumption.
Department of Health Assistant Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial said that currently, salt distributed in the market is either poorly iodized or not iodized at all.
She said that one of the factors that contributes to this occurrence is the lack of monitoring by regulatory agencies considering the layers of trading and complex supply distribution modalities.
The 2013 National Nutrition Survey (NNS), showed that among 6-12 years old, 16.4% have mild to moderate iodine deficiency, which is an improvement from 2008 NNS of 19.7%. Also, the proportion of households using iodized salt is only 71%, of which only 25% is using adequately-iodized salt. This explains the continuing existence of iodine deficiency disorders across the vulnerable target population that includes pregnant women, lactating women, and children 6-12 years old.
The DoH says iodine deficiency can be easily and economically addressed through salt iodization. Salt was identified as the best medium for delivering iodine because most people have access to salt and they eat it in small quantities every day, enough to achieve the required iodine intake.
“So next time people buy table salt, they should look for “Saktong Iodine sa Asin” seal on packages and even on the sacks of salt being sold in “takal” or retail in the markets.” DOH Assistant Secretary Ubial said.#