Micronutrient Initiative President Venkatesh Mannar wins Tech Award in Health for Double Fortified Salt

MI President Venkatesh Mannar receiving the Tech Award for Health from Henry Tirri, Head of Global Research for Nokia, sponsor of the Health category at the Tech Awards. Photo by Charlotte Fiorito Photography.

MI President Venkatesh Mannar receiving the Tech Award for Health from Henry Tirri, Head of Global Research for Nokia, sponsor of the Health category at the Tech Awards. Photo by Charlotte Fiorito Photography.

San Jose, CA, USA – At a ceremony tonight, Venkatesh Mannar´s work to fortify salt with both iodine and iron was awarded the Tech Award for Health. Double fortified salt was recognized for its simplicity, its cost-effectiveness and the possibility of it potentially reaching billions of people.

“I am so pleased to be honoured with this prestigious international award,” says Mannar. “This recognition will help us gain resources and momentum to spread Double Fortified Salt around the world.”

Double Fortified Salt delivers small but crucial daily amounts of iodine and iron to human beings at a very low cost. Iodine is critical for brain development and iron is critical for mental and physical ability. Prior to Mannar´s work, iron could not be added to iodized salt because the properties in the two nutrients cancelled each other out when combined.

Mannar worked for more than 15 years with colleagues at the Micronutrient Initiative and University of Toronto Food Engineer Levente Diosady to develop a way the nutrients could be added together and still retain their life-enhancing properties. Mannar says the end solution was simple but not easy to reach. It took the dedication of many to make Double Fortified Salt a reality.

The Tech Awards – a signature program of the California-based Tech Museum – is one of the premier annual humanitarian awards programs in the world. The awards recognize technical solutions that benefit humanity and address the most critical issues facing our planet and its people. Other categories included equality, environment, education and economic development. Queen Rania of Jordan was honoured at the event with the Global Humanitarian Award.

“We are so pleased for the opportunity given to us by the Tech Museum, the judges and Santa Clara University to present this simple technology to influencers in Silicon Valley,” says Mannar. “Leading companies in the region, including Health Sponsor Nokia, are recognizing the role they can play in harnessing technology for accelerated development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.”

Double Fortified Salt is being used on a daily basis in school meal programs in Tamil Nadu, benefitting three million school children. The Lanka Salt Factory is also poised to produce the salt, to potentially benefit an additional 40 million people.

For more information:

Aynsley Morris
Communications Manager
Micronutrient Initiative
Cell:   613 218-8427
E-mail: amorris@micronutrient.org