The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) recommends using iodized salt in processed foods like ham, tocino, tapa, hotdog, sausage, langgonisa and the like.
These are all-time favorites of the young and grown-ups alike for meals and snacks.
Using iodized salt in processing meat products may increase the iodine available in the diet of consumers patronizing processed food items.
Availability of iodine in the diet may help maintain optimum nutrition, as this micronutrient helps prevent goiter, impaired mental function, retarded physical development, and congenital anomalies among children.
Food fortification is one of the strategies in preventing micronutrient deficiency in the population.
The FNRI believes that universal salt iodization (USI) is the recommended strategy to eliminate iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) in the population by using salt to carry iodine in the diet.
Related to this, the FNRI-DOST conducted a study on the quality of salt in the Philippines, led by the group of Ms. Marcela C. Saises, Senior Science Research Specialist of the Food Research and Development Group.
The study found that salt produced in Pangasinan and Occidental Mindoro are safe for human consumption.
The trace elements found in salt, such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, calcium and magnesium were found to conform to the acceptable levels set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Ms. Saises' group also studied the effects of iodized salt on the quality of meat products such as ham, tocino, and hotdog.
The study found that the meat products using iodized salt had higher iodine content while the color was enhanced making the product or a bit darker.
The meat products, when tested for shelf-life, were found to retain high iodine content and the general acceptability levels were close to "like very much".
Further studying the iodine levels retained in processed foods after boiling, frying and steaming, Ms. Saises' group found that significant amounts were retained in cooked meats seasoned with iodized salt.
Results of studies of Ms. Saises' group were used as basis in promoting the mandatory use of iodized salt in processed food products.
The FNRI-DOST recommends including iodine-rich food in daily meals, like fish, shellfish, and seaweeds.
Iodized salt and processed meats containing iodized salt are also recommended in moderate amounts as good sources of iodine.