Salt samples from Anganwadi found to have low levels of Iodine: CERC

Press Release

8 September 2021


In a survey done by Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC) across 33 districts of Gujarat, large number of salt samples from Anganwadi have been found to not comply with minimum iodine levels as per the National Iodine Deficiency Disorders Control program(NIDDCP). This means they have iodine levels less than 15ppm.CERC has partnered to implement the NIDDCP in Gujarat for the past 2 years and has tested over 5,000 samples of salt from 33 districts. Samples have been drawn from different points of distribution like retailers/wholesalers, PDS/Fair price shops/Ration shops, Anganwadi & ICDS Centers and from salt iodization units(SIUs) like Halvad, Khadaghoda, Kutch, Santalpur, Bhavnagar etc.


NIDDCP is being implemented in the country with Universal Salt Iodisation (USI) as a strategy to ensure more than 90% of the population has Iodised salt available at household level. Though compared to other states, Gujarat fares better with an overall 80% compliance, but there are still some areas that need immediate State Government intervention.


Besides varying levels of low Iodization, CERC survey has also found problems of mislabelling, misbranding and substandard. Brand wise analysis of non-compliant (<15ppm iodine) samples revealed that there are brands which do not mention iodine levels, and certain other brands falsely claim the level of iodine in their products.


Elaborating on the findings from the survey, Anindita Mehta – Chief General Manager of CERC said, “About 55% of samples collected from Anganwadis and ICDS Centres were found to be substandard (<15ppm iodine content). Districts with maximum number of failing/substandard samples are Tapi, Narmada, Bharuch, Morbi, Surendranagar, Gandhinagar etc. Also, at the salt processors end about 35-40% samples were found substandard (<20ppm). This is a matter of grave concern, as the beneficiaries of ICDS are children, pregnant women and lactating mothers. A woman’s iodine requirements increase substantially during pregnancy to ensure adequate supply to the foetus. Iodine deficiency at these stages can lead to a range of disorders that affect the child’s brain and nervous system development.


Iodine deficiency also results in a wide array of preventable disorders and disabilities collectively known as iodine deficiency disorders (IDD). Edible salt is an ideal vehicle for delivery of Iodine in the body because of its daily and universal consumption by everyone.


There is limited knowledge amongst the retailers, wholesalers and consumers on the need to consume adequately iodized salt. Also, consumers do not have any specific tool which would help them differentiate iodized salt from non-iodized salt or an inadequately iodized one. They may prefer indicators such as price, whiteness, free flow, saltiness etc. over iodine content, for purchase of edible salt rather than the iodine content in the salt. With a focussed campaign on Iodized salt, ‘NAMAK aur SEHAT’, CERC has been conducting awareness and outreach programs and community sensitizing programs on the benefits of Iodized Salt.


For more information please contact Anindita Mehta on 9727333033

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