Official Publication of the Philippine Information Agency Bicol Regional Office, in cooperation with the RIAC-REDIRAS - RDC Bicol

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

DOH steps up drive on production, consumption of iodine fortified salt, staple foods

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 9 (PIA) -- The Department of Health (Bicol) regional office launched Tuesday the Diamond Sangkap Pinoy Seal "Saktong Iodine sa Asin", a quality seal of good nutrition which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will award to licenced manufacturers which fortify their products according to standards.

In the launching ceremony, Julius Cesar Alejandre of the National Nutrition Council-Nutrition Policy and Planning Division (NNC-NPPD) said the Diamond Sangkap Pinoy Seal "Saktong Iodine sa Asin" will be awarded to manufacturers of staple foods, including rice, sugar, cooking oil,flour and salt which manufacture and fortify their products within the national standards as prescribed by RA 8976 or The Philippne Food Fortification Act and RA 8172 or The ASIN Law.

"These products, when fortified, will increase the micronutrient intake of the population, particularly the groups at risk, and help eliminae the problem of micronutrient malnutrition in the country," he added.

The adequately-iodized salt quality seal has been developed to strengthen and revitalize the existing seal used in the labels of iodized salt, as well as help in the campign to increase awareness and use of adequately-iodized salt in households and point of purchase.  It will also guide consumers in identification and purchase of adequately-iodized sal and fortified products.

The Diamond Sangkap Pinoy Seal "Saktong Iodine sa Asin" will be awarded by the FDA to compliant salt products those bearing 30-70ppm iodine

Alejandre noted that the drive on iodine-fortified salt and products has since been going on to address iodine deficiency - a major public health problem in the Philippines. Iodine is an important micronutrient needed by the body to achieve optimum mental and physical development.

DOH studies showed that Iodine helps boost lerning and intelligence wherein populations with adequate iodine intake have 10-15 IQ points higher than those with inadequate intake.

The 2013 National Nutrition Survey (NNS), showed that among 6-12 years old, 16.4 percent have mild to moderate iodine deficiency, which is an improvement from 2008 NNS of 19.7 percent.  Also, the proportion of households using iodized salt is only 71 percent, of which only 25 percent 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.

While Iodine deficiency can also lead to low birth weight, stillbirth, abortion, cretinism, underdevelopment and mental and physical retardation.

Iodine deficiency is considered one of the most important health issue in the Philippines yet can be easily and economically addressed through salt iodization.

Salt was identified as the best medium for delivering iodine because most people have access and eat salt in small quantities every day, enough to achievethe required iodine intake.

With the revitalized campaign on universal salt iodization, DOH tragets 90 percent of households using adequately iodized salt and fortified products by 2016.

It can be racalled that The ASIN Law requires ALL salt for human and animal consumption be adequately iodized.  While it has been also noted that some slat remain non-iodized and not adequately iodized when FDA provides that iodine in salt should be 30-70 parts per million or ppm.

DOH further noted that salt distributed in the market is either poorly iodized or not iodized at all and there are several factors contributing to this occurrence such as lack of monitoring by regulatory agencies considering the layers of trading and complex supply distribution modalities.

For such, DOH has urged local governments to pass and implement ordinace on iodized sal distribution with penalty provisions on violator in place; provide budget in MNAP for salt monitoring in markets, to cover test kits; and allow the MNAO or MHO to actively involve in the Bantay Asin Task Force of the region, especially in monitoring salt distribution activities.

They are also encouraged to cooperate with the FDA to ensure that salt producers, traders and repackers in their areas of responsiblity registered and complied with iodization standards in salt.

For populace, on the other hand, DOH advised that next time they 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.”  (MAL-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/771441698178/doh-steps-up-drive-on-production-consumption-of-iodine-fortified-salt-staple-foods#sthash.C88rsjnS.dpuf

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