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‘Food manufacturers, hotels ordered to use iodised salt’

‘Food manufacturers, hotels ordered to use iodised salt’

KARACHI: Speakers at a seminar on Saturday said the number of people using iodised salt had phenomenally increased in Karachi over the past few years, yet a large number of people were using salt without iodine and inviting a host of diseases. Senior officials said they had planned a campaign against food manufacturers, outlets and eateries not using the iodised salt.

“The ratio of the use of iodised salt has tremendously increased from 17 per cent till year 2000 to 70pc now, yet millions of people are still not using it,” said Dr Zafar Aijaz, director health, Karachi, while speaking at a seminar held at a local hotel.

He said the authorities had already started an awareness campaign to sensitise the general public to the benefits of iodised salt and dangers if they used non-iodised salt.

“We have given a month’s time to the food manufacturers, hotels and shop owners to process or use iodised salt otherwise legal action will be taken against them,” said Dr Aijaz.

He said the authorities finally woke up to take action against the errant processors and shopkeepers and would follow the procedures given in the Sindh Iodised Salt Act, which was passed by the provincial assembly two years ago.

According to the act, he said, those who used un-iodised salt could see their licences cancelled and/or a fine of Rs50,000 could be imposed on them.

He said the government’s law was aimed at ensuring 100pc use of iodised salt in households and food outlets.

He said his office was arranging awareness meetings for select people of all the six districts of Karachi. In the first phase, people from Karachi east and Korangi had been invited on Saturday morning.

In future, similar sessions would be arranged for the rest of four districts.

Speakers from health education office, Unicef and other non-governmental organisations said iodine deficiency could abort pregnancies or lead to birth defects in children, which included deafness, muteness and brain retardation.

Similarly, such deficiency could harm grown-up people in many ways, which included mental and physical problems.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2015

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