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Monday, September 18, 2006

UNICEF to set up salt testing units in Tuticorin

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) will establish 38 mobile salt testing units in the State during the current fiscal at a cost of Rs. 3 lakh, to ensure that adequate quantity of iodine is present in the salt meant for human consumption.

Speaking to The Hindu , Eric-Alain Ategbo, Project Officer (Nutrition), UNICEF, said the units would be established with the help of the Salt Department, Government of India, in major salt producing districts such as Tuticorin, Ramanthapuram, Nagapattinam, Villupuram, etc.

"Apart from bearing the entire expenses towards establishment of the units, we will extend support to train the technicians appointed by the consortia of salt manufacturers at these units," he added.

Mr. Ategbo said the testing units would help the manufacturers confirm that salt at the manufacturing site contains 30 ppm (parts per million) of iodine.

"The tests, in turn, will ensure that the salt available at the consumer-end will have, at least, 15 ppm of iodine, even after the losses during transit, which is the minimum iodine content required for the human consumption to overcome the iodine deficiency disorders (IDD)," he added.

The UNICEF plans to join hands with Micronutrient Initiative, a Canadian organisation that fights for the elimination of mineral deficiencies, to create awareness among the small-scale manufacturers to sell the salt for human consumption in consumer packs, rather than in bulk packages.

"Iodine can be preserved better in small packs, which also increases the profitability," he added.

Mr. Ategbo said talks are on with the Salt Corporation of Tamil Nadu to orient the staff of Public Distribution System and Civil Supplies' outlets on the importance of selling iodised salt.

Source: The Hindu

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