Sunday 15 January 2012

Iodine Deficiency Strikes Again- The Times of India reports-After milk, salt under quality check scanner - 71 Million Affected 200 Million at Risk

NEW DELHI: After milk, salt - another most common food item - is under the Food Safety Standards Authority of India's (FSSAI) scanner.

The FSSAI is collecting salt samples from across metros to check iodine levels. The study aims to find out how much iodine is available in the salt being sold to consumers.

"We want to see how much iodine is being consumed through salt by consumers. The study is being carried out in metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Bangalaore and Guwahati among others. Around 100 samples of salt- both packed and being sold loose - are being tested from each city. The results will be available soon," a health ministry official told TOI.

According to the Coverage Evaluation Survey, adequately iodated salt consumption in the country was about 71% and the rest (29%) contained nil and inadequate iodine. About 71 million Indians are suffering from Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD). IDD is the leading cause of mental retardation globally. Every year, 13 million Indian children are born unprotected from brain damage caused by iodine deficiency.

It is estimated that 200 million Indians are exposed to the risk of IDD.

Health ministry data says that out of 324 districts in all the 28 states, 263 districts are endemic, where the prevalence of IDD is more than 10%.

Under the 12th Five Year plan, India aims to bring down prevalence of IDD below 5%. By 2017, the Union health ministry wants to ensure 100% consumption of adequately iodated salt in households.

"We want to conduct a fresh IDD survey/resurvey of 643 districts of the country. It is estimated that an amount of Rs 643 lakh will be required during the entire Plan period for the survey. During the 12th Plan, we have asked the Planning Commission for Rs 1,225 lakh to set up one IDD monitoring lab with one laboratory technician and one lab assistant for every state," a ministry official said.

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