27 July 2015, Koronadal City – Salt is essential for human and animal life, and saltiness is one of the basic human tastes. Salt is one of the oldest and most ubiquitous of food seasoning’s, and salting is an important method of food preservation. Most recipes that call for salt are referring to table salt, which has additives like iodine (to prevent thyroid disease) and an anti-caking agent to prevent lumping in humidity.
Iodine on the other hand is an essential trace element; the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine contain iodine. In areas where there is little iodine in the diet—typically remote inland areas where no marine foods are eaten, iodine deficiency is common. It is also common in mountainous regions of the world where food is grown in iodine-poor soil.
Furthermore, the alarming iodine deficiency disorder among Filipino children and pregnant women has prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to order establishments engaged in salt manufacture, importation, wholesale, repacking, and distribution to secure a License to operate to ensure that all salt supplies sold to the public are iodized.
Hence, to ensure the supply and distribution of only adequately-iodized salt within the region in an effort to address the pronounced levels of iodine deficiency in the region, the National Nutrition Council XII coordinated the organizational forum on Bantay Asin Task Force in Region XII held on July 14, 2015 at The Farm at Carpenter Hill, Koronadal City. It was attended by different regional representatives from DOH headed by ARD Dr. Francisco Mateo, FDA, DOST, DA, DepED, NEDA, PIA, DTI, NCIP, PopCom, Philippine Ports Authority, and Philippine Coast Guard. Salt traders/suppliers were also present as well as selected local media both radio and print.
The said forum was facilitated by Mr. Alexander Michael Palma from UNICEF and Mr. Julius Cesar P. Alejandre of NPPD-NNC. Representatives from DOST-ITDI oriented the group on the use of WYD Iodine Checker and turned-over the equipment to DOH XII, as chair of the RBATF in Region XII.
The task force was able to formulate plan of action which will be implemented on August to December 2015.