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18.05.2005 General News

Agencies to check unimpeded distribution of raw salt

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Ho, May 18, GNA - The Foods And Drugs Board (FDB) is liasing with the Police, Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), the Environmental Health Service and road transporters to check the unimpeded distribution of un-iodated salt in the country.

This is expected to raise the consumption of iodated salt from the current 44 per cent to 90 per cent by the close of the year. Mr Jacob Armah, Acting Head of the Nutrition Division of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said this when delivering a paper on the Salt Industry, Salt Iodination and Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) at a workshop for enforcement agencies in Ho on Wednesday.

Under the Food and Drugs law all salt for consumption in Ghana should be iodised.

Mr Armah said while education to increase the use of iodated salt would continue, enforcement agencies would be expected to be more proactive in barring un-iodated salt from reaching the markets. He said the Police at road checks, for example, should be able to prevent raw salt from getting to the northern parts of the country where the incidence of IDD, evidenced by the many goitre cases, was high. Mr Armah listed the nine districts in Ghana where IDD is serious as Hohoe, Kwahu-South, Adansi-West, Nkwanta, Zabzugu-Tatale, East Mamprusi, Bongo, Jirapa and Bole.

He expressed regret that as at the end of 2003, only 19.8 per cent of 192 markets in the country were selling iodated salts and suggested that iodated salt be packaged into 50-kilogram bags and retailers trained in bagging them in smaller quantities.

Mr Armah said cottage producers were responsible for the 'unwholesome salt' on the market, warning them to make use of the available help line to acquire the capacity to iodise their salt or sell it to companies or individuals who produce iodated salt.

Mr Paa Nii Ouaye, Senior Regulatory officer of the FDB, said in the future salt producers would require permit from the FDB to move salt, not meant for the table, from one point to the other.

He asked the enforcement agencies to brace up for the task, cautioning that producers of raw salt sometimes bagged them in iodated salt bags to outwit inspectors.

Rev Jonathan Martey, Head of Finance and Administration of the FDB, said the district assemblies had it as a duty to collaborate with the board and enforcement agencies to increase the use of iodated salt in their areas.

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