DESPITE ALL efforts towards quality, Indians are forced to consume low iodine salt. Wrong storage and handling by manufacturers takes its toll on the iodine content in the salt while the salt manufacturers in the unorganised sector never go for optimum level of iodine in salt. All this when crores of rupees are spent on awareness alone for use of iodised salt.
“Repackaging is done numerous times before salt reaches the consumer from the manufacturer. Often salt bricks are brought by distributors to be washed and packed in smaller packs, which makes the salt lose its iodine,” said salt commissioner of India, S Sundaresan.
Even long distance traveling, he said, gives the iodine level in salt a jolt. The duplicate market is another cause for sale of low iodine salt as it focuses upon profit and not on public health. Sundaresan was in the city to participate in the day-long workshop on the use and sale of iodized salt today at Hotel Comfort Inn, organised jointly by the UNICEF and Health department.“Defaulters pack low iodine salt in the name of known brands like TATA and Captain Cook but it is not actually the original salt from the company. We have 50 cases pending against such offenders,” he said adding, “Even the salt companies are not interested to fight legal battles as it is expensive.”
Briefing about the measures to check supply of low iodine salt, he said that MP government had evolved an idea to check salt’s iodine content on the entry points in the state and they succeeded in controlling the supply of low iodine salt.
“But this could not be practiced in every state. Take the example of UP that gets 90 per cent of its salt from Rajasthan and 1 per cent from Gujarat. It has numerous entry points and it was not possible to depute staff to check salt on every point,” said Sunderesan. Thus it has been decided that salt should be sufficiently supplied through the PDS and all precautions be taken during long distance transportation of salt.
A brief description on iodine deficiency disorder was given by Dr RR Bharti, director, Health, while director IED (UP) KK Aron gave the concluding remarks.
The participant salt dealers from various corner of the State were briefed about the importance of iodised salt and discussions were held on proper supply of iodised salt in the State.