With no mandatory requirement for iodised salt in the UK, domestic firms could take the lead by fortifying their own products to improve deficiency levels, suggested Stephen Crabb, head of operations for salt and bicarbonate at British Salt.
“Iodine deficiency is a huge problem globally and, historically, the UK has one of the worst records,” Crabb said.
“Across the globe, salt fortified with iodine is a well-established means to help get people to the required levels – but not in the UK.”
Despite the perception of salt as a bulk commodity, Crabb said he was working to develop more niche products at British Salt’s site in Middlewich, Cheshire.
Wide variety of applications
The firm’s iodised salt is made using potassium iodate and is suitable for a wide variety of applications, including bread manufacture.
A range of iodine concentrations can be provided to suit market requirements, British Salt added.
The UK Government’s dietary recommendation for iodine intakes for males and females is 140 micrograms per day from the age of 15.
While the Global Iodine Network described UK iodine intakes as “adequate”, recent studies have suggested iodine deficiency rates in expectant mothers across the UK range from 40% in Scotland to 73% in the south-west.
Meanwhile, Crabb took time out to speak to Food Manufacture about how meeting a strict set of safety standards was as important as fulfilling demand for British Salt’s products.