THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Northern Mindanao is intensifying its campaign on the implementation of salt iodization.

DOST convened salt manufacturers and representatives of the Department of Health (DOH) and other government agencies for a forum Wednesday.

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The concerned officials came up with a plan to visit small and big manufacturers in Northern Mindanao and remind them of the distribution of iodized salt in the market.

The DOST earlier conducted a series of visits last week on some salt manufacturers in the region.

However, Dr. Simer Belacho of the DOH noted difficulties in monitoring salt producers as provinces in Northern Mindanao have only one personnel each to monitor the distributed salt in the market, whether iodized or not.

Under the Act on Salt Iodization Nationwide (Asin), the DOH is tasked to undertake the salt iodization program and for the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) to set and enforce standards for food-grade iodized salt and to monitor compliance thereof by the food-grade salt manufacturers.

The law also requires the local government units (LGUs), through their health officers and nutritionists or dieticians, to check and monitor the quality of food-grade salt being sold in the market in order to ascertain that such salt is properly iodized.

The DOST is tasked to initiate, promote and cause the transfer of technology for salt iodization.

Dr. Belacho said mixing of iodine substance with salt could help develop the brains of the children whose parents are unable to provide food with iodine contents.

Under the law on salt iodization, lack of iodine results to reduction of intellectual and physical capacity affecting everyone and may manifest to goiter, mental retardation, physical and mental effects, and cretinism.

Not only for households, but hotels, restaurants and small food stores are required to serve dishes using iodized salt.

The Act was being made into law 15 years ago. (Loui S. Maliza)