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Central Luzon intensifies initiatives on salt iodization

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The National Nutrition Council Region 3 said it is beefing up its initiatives in line with the national salt iodization program to control iodine deficiency disorders (IDD).

NNC Region 3 Nutrition Officer III Angelita Pasos shared that the Regional Bantay Asin Task Force is intensifying its activities to ensure that Republic Act 8172 or the Act on Salt Iodization Nationwide (ASIN) Law is being implemented and followed.

“We want the salt here in the region to be iodized so that it will become more nutritious. This is to secure the nutritional well-being of the people, especially young children, and pregnant and lactating women,” she said.

The 2013 8th National Nutrition Survey Results on IDD revealed that only about 25.7 percent of households are using adequate iodized salt, with Central Luzon having lower percentage of iodine utilization and consumption.

In addition, Pasos shared that they are conducting salt testing and monitoring activities in sample households, markets, sari-sari stores, and groceries with the use of an iodine checker machine, as part of the task force’s role of regulating and monitoring iodized salt in the region.

Through this, they have found out that not all the provinces and cities in the region are using iodized salt; and not all salt that is being sold in the market has iodine content.

“Salt entering Central Luzon is currently not tested for iodine content which leads to unhampered entry of untested salt in the region,” she said. 

The officer said the aim is not only for the presence of iodine in the salt, but also the correct measure of iodine in the salt which is 30 to 70 parts per million. 

With this, Pasos encouraged the local government units in the region to strictly impose ordinances in accordance with the ASIN Law.

“We have to strive that the law, the ordinances, and resolutions at the local level are not only being passed, but also being implemented… We suggest that our municipal or city leaders should monitor these, and continue to implement these in their jurisdictions,” she added.

She also urged members of the Provincial, City, and Municipal Nutrition Committees to aid in cascading the aim of the law down to the barangay level.

Meanwhile, Pasos emphasized that the effectiveness of the salt iodization program lies in the iodine that is being mixed with the salt given that it is the simplest, cheapest, and most effective ingredient that is being used and consumed by people every day.

“Our food already contains iodine but this lessens when the food is being cooked as it is easy to evaporate. That is why we are also suggesting that iodized salt is better to be used in dipping, not much in cooking. In cooking, it should be placed when the food is about to be served,” she detailed.

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

Iodine deficiency is claimed 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.