The Department of Health and the Regional Bantay Asin Task Force Region 10 composed of personnel from the National Nutrition Council, Philippine National Police, Philippine Ports Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, Food and Drug Administration and the Provincial Health Office conducted surprise salt inspection and testing to 20 randomly selected retailers and bakeries of Lanao del Norte particularly in the municipalities of Lala and Tubod in coordination with the officials of the public market and Sanitary Inspectors of both municipalities on October 22, 2018.

The RBATF seeks to identify the percentage of iodine present in salt sold in the market if it is adequate for human consumption. Salts sold in the market and in other retail stores should not only be iodized but should be adequately iodized.

Republic Act 8172 entitled, ““An Act Promoting Salt Iodization Nationwide and for Related Purposes” or the ASIN Law requires all food outlets, restaurants, and stores to make available to consumers only iodized salt.

In Lanao del Norte, the Regional Bantay Asin Task Force initiates to conduct test to 10 salt retailers in the public market of Barangay Maranding in the Municipality of Lala and 10 in the public market of the Municipality of Tubod.

The required percentage of iodine in salt for household consumption is in between 15 to 30 percent; while suppliers are needed to have the iodine content before selling to the market is above 70 percent, taking into consideration in transporting the salt and the sensitivity of iodine when exposed to air and sunlight.

Out of 10 salt vendors in the public market of Barangay Maranding, 4 have satisfactorily passed the required percentage in parts per million (ppm) of iodine content in salt, namely, LJH Store – 49%, Abby Sari-Sari Store – 37.6 %, Escobia Store – 28.9% and Yong Store – 20.9%. Meanwhile, in the public market of Tubod, 4 out of 10 randomly identified salt traders are acceptably within the required range. These stores are: Jaime Rita – 15.4%, Eddita Store – 31%, Lily Manoop – 20.8% and Biboy Store – 27.1%.

Iodine is a mineral that is necessary for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland and the prevention of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) including simple goiter, mental retardation, and decreased child survival, among others. With its benefits, the Bantay Asin Task Force aims to strengthen collaboration, cooperation and coordination with local government units to intensify the implementation of RA 8172 with the support of a municipal ordinance. PIO-LDN