The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) has recommended using iodized salt in processed foods such as ham, tocino, tapa, hotdog, sausage and langgonisa.
The FNRI-DOST said that using iodized salt in these processed foods which are favorites of the young and grown-ups for meals and snacks may increase the iodine available in the diet of consumers eating processed food items.
The FNRI said that the availability of iodine in the diet may help maintain optimum nutrition, as this micronutrient helps prevent goiter, impaired mental function, retarded physical development, and congenital anomalies among children.
The Department of Health has been advocating for food fortification as one of the strategies in preventing micronutrient deficiency in the populace especially among children.
The FNRI said that that universal salt iodization (USI) is the recommended strategy to eliminate iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) in the population by using salt to carry iodine in the diet.
The FNRI-DOST has recommended the mandatory use of iodized salt in processed food products as a result of a study on the quality of salt in the Philippines, led by the group of Ms. Marcela C. Saises, Senior Science Research Specialist of the Food Research and Development Group.
The study found that salt produced in Pangasinan and Occidental Mindoro is safe for human consumption.
The trace elements found in salt, such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, calcium and magnesium conforms with the acceptable levels set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the study said.
The study by Ms. Saises’ group also found that the meat products such as ham, tocino, and hotdog using iodized salt had higher iodine content while the color was enhanced making the product a bit darker.
The meat products, when tested for shelf-life, were found to retain high iodine content and the general acceptability levels were close to “like very much”.
The study also revealed that after boiling, frying and steaming, significant amounts of iodine levels were were retained in cooked meats seasong with iodized salt.
The FNRI-DOST has recommended including iodine-rich food in daily meals, like fish, shellfish, and seaweeds.
Iodized salt and processed meats containing iodized salt are also recommended in moderate amounts as good sources of iodine.#