Dhaka, BANGLADESH: The Government of Bangladesh today passed the Iodized Salt Bill, 2021 which makes iodization of edible salts mandatory. The new law will help to prevent iodine deficiency disorders and improve the nutrition of millions of people. Nutrition International congratulated the government on the new legislation.

“Through support from the Government of Canada, Nutrition International has been working for more than two decades to speed up the pace and expand the adoption – or scale up – of universal salt iodization around the world,” said Saiqa Siraj, Country Director, Nutrition International, Bangladesh. “In Bangladesh, we have been supporting the government’s USI program for over a decade and it gives us immense pleasure today to see the Iodized Salt Bill, 2021 passed nationally. This new milestone in Bangladesh’s USI journey will help reduce the iodine deficiency burden of the nation, promising a healthier future to its vulnerable population.”

The Iodized Salt Bill mandates that all edible salts, including salt used for livestock and the production of processed food items for human consumption, will be iodized at 30-50 parts per million (ppm). The new law imposes strict legal and monetary punishments on violators producing, importing or selling non-iodized salt.

This new milestone in Bangladesh’s USI journey will help reduce the iodine deficiency burden of the nation.

For 15 years, Nutrition International has provided technical support to salt processors and the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) to improve the quality of salt available, including upgrading laboratories, supporting the maintenance of iodization plants, introducing new technology and training Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (CIDD) project officials. Since 2010, Nutrition International, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, and UNICEF have been advocating with the national government to amend USI legislation and standards.

“USI is one of the most important public health initiatives in Bangladesh which started in 1990 aimed at eliminating iodine deficiency disorders through CIDD project under BSCIC,” said Mr. Akhil Ranjan Tarafder, Project Director of CIDD and General Manager of BSCIC. “The CIDD project has been instrumental in considerably reducing the prevalence of iodine deficiency in the country and has contributed to achieving the targets related to the Sustainable Development Goals. The adequately iodized salt coverage needs to move to 100% and with this iodized salt bill we are sure to attain USI in the country. Our collaboration with Nutrition International has always yielded great results for advancing the agenda of USI in the country.”

Only 57.6% of households in Bangladesh use adequately iodized salt[1], indicating that approximately 68 million still consume inadequately iodized salt, putting them at high risk of iodine deficiency disorders. This legislation will ensure iodization occurs at the production level, benefitting millions of people who do not currently have access to adequately iodized salt.

 

References

[1] National micronutrients status survey 2011-12 final report. Dhaka, Bangladesh: International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), UNICEF, GAIN, Institute of Public Health and Nutrition, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2013.