The current performance indicator for universal salt iodisation (USI) is the percentage of households using adequately iodised salt. However, the proportion of dietary salt from household salt is decreasing with the increase in consumption of processed foods and condiments globally. This paper reports on case studies supported by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)-UNICEF USI Partnership Project to investigate processed food industry use of adequately iodised salt in contrasting national contexts. Studies were conducted in Egypt, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine. In all cases, the potential iodine intake from iodised salt in selected food products was modelled according to the formula: quantity of salt per unit of food product × minimum regulated iodine level of salt at production × average daily per capita consumption of the product. The percent of adult recommended nutrient intake for iodine potentially provided by the average daily intake of bread and frequently consumed foods and condiments was from 10% to 80% at the individual product level. The potential contribution to iodine intake from the use of iodised salt in the processed food industry is of growing significance. National USI strategies should encourage co-operative industry engagement and include regulatory monitoring of iodised salt use in the food industry in order to achieve optimal population iodine status.
Keywords: iodine deficiency disorders; iodised salt; processed foods.