eCatalogue of indicators for micronutrient programmes

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Imported iodized salt is adequately fortified
For countries that import food-grade salt, this indicator assesses whether imported iodized salt is adequately fortified based on the national standard.
When importers and distributors procure salt, they have the responsibility to either ensure that it meets specifications as stipulated in the regulations, or to ensure that these are met before salt goes out to the wholesale or retail market (1). Monitoring that imported salt is adequately iodized is important because: 1) not all countries produce salt and importation is the only option for them; 2) limiting the availability of non-iodized imported salt is important to ensure universal salt iodization; and 3) this ensures imported salt is iodized and levels the playing field for domestic producers and importers so everyone carries the cost of iodization.
The numerator is the number of food-grade salt consignments imported into the country that are adequately iodized according to national standards over a given time period (e.g., twelve months). The denominator is the total number of food-grade salt consignments imported into the country over the same time period. • Divide the numerator by the denominator. Multiply the result by 100 to convert the number into a percentage. Considerations for the calculation: a. This indicator may be reported several ways: the proportion of salt samples adequately fortified; reporting separately the proportion of salt sample adequately fortified tested with rapid test kit vs. salt iodine titration; and/or the proportion of imported salt that is adequately packaged and labeled according to national standards if it is not possible to test all imported consignments. This indicator might also be limited to large importers and producers if resources do not permit monitoring all imports.
food-grade salt,imported salt,certificate of anlaysis,certificate of conformity,border inspection,Food Control Agency
Food fortification
Availability of product, Quality
Early childhood development, Emergency setting or displaced population, Lactation, Pregnancy
Frequency of inspections is determined by the national border control and food control agencies, but may cover all imported salt shipments. At the actual point of entry, customs officers can realistically be expected to check documentation (e.g., certificates of conformity) on large consignments of salt, and visibly inspect all imports to check that the salt is suitably packed and labeled. Documentation usually distinguishes between salt for human consumption and industrial salt, which is not covered by iodization regulations. Ideally, each consignment is tested at least with a rapid test kit, which is a qualitative test and cannot assess actual iodine levels, or preferably salt iodine titration (quantitative test).
Low cost and easy to use rapid test kits exist to test the iodine content of salt samples. Titration methods are available and relatively low cost to quantitatively assess the levels of iodine. Evidence that virtually all the salt supply in a country is iodized and meets the standard on iodine content is a strong predictor of adequate dietary iodine intake by the population. Provides evidence to the domestic salt industry that imported salt follows the same standards that the domestic salt producers are required to follow.
There may be uncertainty about the reliability of the data when the border control agency and/or the food control agency have not adopted an explicit, transparent quality control system. Rapid test kits do not confirm the salt is adequately iodized according to national standards. This indicator does not capture salt brought across borders illegally, which in some countries or areas might account for a large proportion of the available salt.
The law in one country mandates the iodization of all salt for human and animal consumption, including the salt used in food industry. All food-grade salt in this country is imported. It is estimated that >90% of the salt imports of 25 tons or more originate from one salt factory in a neighboring country, either directly or via intermediary traders. Smaller quantities of salt are imported from another factory in a different country. The border crossing between countries handles approximately 95% of the salt imported into the country. The Customs Authority inspects each salt import consignment, including quantitative titration. Results of 323 import shipments for the years 2006-2008 (3 years) demonstrate that 79% of shipments allowed into the country had iodine content within the standard. In the example for this indicator (imported iodized salt is adequately fortified), 79% of the shipments showed iodine content meeting the national standard.
1. Sullivan KM, Houston R, Cervinskas J, Gorstein J, editors. Monitoring universal salt iodization programmes. Ottawa: Micronutrient Initiative; 1995 (, accessed 28 January 2015).
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