Action - Nutrition International - India - Salt iodization - All population groups

Programme: Nutrition International - India

Programme description

We consume iodine in our foods. When plants and animals are raised in areas with iodine-deficient soil, the diet for those people will be less healthy, resulting in populations suffering from iodine deficiency disorders (IDD).[1]  Iodine deficiency is a leading cause of mental impairment and therefore Iodine offers protection to the growing brain.[2]

In many middle to high income countries, the problem of iodine deficiency has largely been solved by adding iodine to salt, which then makes it into animal feed, breads, processed foods and salt shakers in homes around the world. Salt iodization is considered the most successful type of food fortification.[2] That said, in 2017, 1 billion people globally did not have access to iodized salt.[3]

Supporting governments' efforts to achieve universal salt iodization (USI) is Nutrition International’s main strategy to help eliminate IDD. This means that all edible salt, for households, processed foods and animal salt, is adequately iodized based on how much the general population consumes. Nutrition International (NI) works in collaboration with the government of India and partners to improve the legislative, policy and regulatory environments for salt iodization.  NI works with the salt industry to build its capacity to comply with regulations.  NI seeks to foster greater government ownership and commitment for USI programs to ensure long-term sustainability. 

The areas of NI support for Salt Iodization include:

1. Building the capacity of the government quality control authorities in effective monitoring, quality control and enforcement:

  • Helping the government in developing iodization standards harmonized with global best practices and drafting legislation and regulation for enforcement.
  • Strengthening and/or establishing quality control laboratories.
  • Facilitating the establishment of technical working groups.
  • Facilitating a review of the National Iodine Deficiency Disorder Control Program under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and health departments under various state governments.

2. Strengthening the capacity of small and medium-scale salt producers in the:

  • Improvement of the iodization process, technology and internal quality control. 
  • Improvement in the industrial processes and technology including the up-gradation of salt plants through innovative business models.
  • Collaboration with consumer rights protection groups to ensure surveillance mechanisms in low performing states and advocating for effective enforcement by government departments.

3. Contributing to the global evidence base and to the development of global standards and guidelines

4. Advocacy and Behaviour Change Interventions

  • Developing various communication tools and facilitating its roll-out in collaboration with the Government of India, various other state governments and other stakeholders.   

These activities are being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Salt Department, Ministry of Industries and Commerce, State Food and Drugs Control Administration, Consumer Right Agencies, Salt Industry and development sector partners. This project is being implemented nationally and at the state level with salt processors in four salt producing states (Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh) and in three non-salt producing states (Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh). NI began work with salt fortification in India in the early 2000s and work is ongoing.

Programme type



  1.  Zimmermann, M. B. (2011). Iodine deficiency disorders. Oxford Medicine Online. doi:10.1093/med/9780199235292.003.3109
  2. WHO.Guideline: fortification of food-grade salt with iodine for the prevention and control of iodine deficiency disorders. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2014. 
  3. UNICEF. (n.d.). UNICEF Data: Monitoring the Situation of Children and Women. Retrieved from

For more information: 

Target group: 
All population groups

Revision log

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 18:05zillmerkpublishedpublished
Mon, 10/22/2018 - 17:44GINAadminNIAction edited by GINAadminNI.needs_review
Tue, 10/02/2018 - 16:20engesveenkEdited by GINAadminNI.published
Thu, 08/23/2018 - 23:25GINAadminNIEdited by GINAadminNI.delegated
Thu, 06/14/2018 - 14:59engesveenkEdited by engesveenk.delegated
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