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WIA publishes the of the abstracts of the presentations given by the speakers at the WIA Conference in Pisa on the topic of ‘Iodine in Food Systems and Health’ on 15-17 November 2017 in Pisa

The WIA international conference in Pisa brought together scientists and other stakeholders working on various aspects of iodine in food systems, to increase understanding on how variations in the earth’s supply of iodine affect human and animal health.  


The Scientific Steering Committee chaired by Prof. Dr. Margaret Rayman, engaged key-note speakers on iodine in the environment, food, health and industrial uses to present the state of iodine research in their fields and identify data gaps and opportunities.  


Representatives from stakeholder organizations such as the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the Choices International Foundation, the European Feed Manifacturers‘ Federation (FEFAC), the European Medical Association (EMA) and the European Salt Producers‘ Association (EuSalt) presented their thoughts on optimal iodine intake and solutions for prevention of iodine deficiency disorders. 


Abstracts of the oral presentations are now available on the WIA website

WIA engaged in dialogue with stakeholders in agronomic biofortification …

… with micronutrients. The meeting “Creating nutrient-enriched foods through biofortification” took place in December at the Campus of the University in Ghent, Belgium.

Inspiring Mornings @UGent-FBW is a new concept at the Ghent Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, to support a faster implementation of new innovations in agriculture, in this case creating nutrient-enriched foods.

Katja Hora (WIA technical committee) was invited to give a presentation on the health impact of iodine and advantages of agronomic biofortification. It emphasized need to monitor iodine intake for vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, and stimulated discussion on existing and novel solutions to ensure optimal iodine intake. Other experts from the university and external speakers highlighted the use of selenium in agriculture, the potential of nutrient-enriched foods in developing countries, factors affecting effectiveness of biofortification in both animal and crop production and the market potential and consumer perception of biofortified foods. The audience, consisting of representatives from industry, academia, farming and farming suppliers, participated in a lively discussion.

The meeting “Creating nutrient-enriched foods through biofortification” took place in December at the Campus of the University in Ghent, Belgium.

WIA congratulates İsmail Çakmak on winning the TWAS 2016 prize.

İsmail Çakmak

The World Academy of Sciences awarded the 2016 Prize in Agricultural Sciences to WIA SAB member İsmail Çakmak for and his outstanding contributions to scientific literature in his field and his successful international Harvest Zinc and Iodine project in 12 countries. This project aims to employ agricultural strategies to reduce diseases related to zinc, iron and iodine deficiency in over 2 billion people in the developing world. İsmail Çakmak will receive his Academy Medal at a ceremony in 2017. Source: (

WIA explains iodine production and industrial applications in the IGN Newsletter

IGN Newsletter

The Iodine Global Network (IGN) plays a strong scientific and advisory role on iodine nutrition, and draws upon 30 years of experience and expertise of academics, salt industry representatives, and partner organizations. They support and catalyse global and national iodine programs, working with key public, private, scientific and civic stakeholders. These specialists in human nutrition, public health and thyroid function know about the role of iodine for human and animal health. Generally, the origin of iodine used in iodised salt programmes is less known among these experts. WIA was asked to provide information on the production of iodine and its derivatives. In the August issue of the IDD newsletter, WIA members Iofina, Calibre Chemicals, SQM, and Ajay-SQM Group explain where iodine comes from and where it is used.

Save this date ! 2017 November 15-17. First International Conference of the World Iodine Association


Iodine in food systems and health

1st International WIA Conference

2017 November 15-17

Italy, Pisa

This international conference on Iodine in Food Systems and Health aims to bring together scientists and other stakeholders working on various aspects of iodine in food systems, to increase understanding on how variations in the earth’s supply of iodine impact human and animal health. The Scientific Steering Committee chaired by Margaret Rayman engaged key-note speakers on iodine in the environment, food, agriculture, health and industrial uses. They will present the state of iodine research in their field and identify data gaps and opportunities. We invite interested scientists to submit research papers.
We look forward to welcome you in Italy 15-17 November 2017. The conference will be held in Pisa near the Mediterranean coast-line of Tuscany. Concentrated in just a few dozen kilometres are some of the most renowned artistic treasures of Tuscany: the „leaning“ Tower of Pisa, Volterra „the city of the Etruscans“, the Churches of San Miniato. A place that attracts millions of visitors all through the year and from all around the world. The province of Pisa is an expanse of artistic heritage, that goes far beyond the very famous Piazza dei Miracoli, to be enjoyed in the city and among the splendid hills and Medieval hamlets of the Pisan countryside.
To receive updates on the international conference please contact

Get bread back on the table

Professor warns that eliminating bread from diet is leading to iodine deficiency


Bread should again be embraced in our daily diet. In recent years, many people have virtually banished bread from their diet because the carbohydrate content in the bread was considered fattening. However, eliminating bread, a major source of iodine in the Netherlands, has its risks, says Prof. Robin Peeters. Erasmus MC recently appointed him as Professor of Internal Medicine, focusing on thyroid diseases. Peeters has held an inaugural lecture on Friday 12 February, during which, among other things, he highlighted the dangers of iodine deficiency.
Especially pregnant women can be at risk if they do not eat bread. “Over the past years, people in the Netherlands have had an adequate intake of iodine thanks to the iodine in bakery products. The trend of eating less bread, with some people even choosing to eat no bread at all as part of their diet, means that iodine deficiency among certain population groups in the Netherlands is once again lurking,” warns Peeters.
“This is particularly worrying for pregnant women, as iodine deficiency during pregnancy has a negative effect on brain development in the unborn child. Even mothers with mild iodine deficiency have children with a lower IQ on average. This is because iodine is an essential element of thyroid hormone.“
Pregnant women and their obstetricians are advised to take this risk into account. The neonatal heel prick is a screening test for, among others, CHT (congenital hypothyroidism), resulting in too low levels of thyroid hormone. One in 5000 children is born with CHT. This can be treated with medication.
However, during the first half of pregnancy, children are almost entirely dependent on maternal thyroid hormones. Children born to mothers with low levels of thyroid hormone during pregnancy will on average remain seven IQ points behind children born to mothers with a normally functioning thyroid.
Peeters advises pregnant women or women who plan to become pregnant to start eating two slices of bread again for breakfast. “As long as you eat a balanced diet this will not affect your weight. If you cannot eat bread because of, for example, a gluten allergy, it would be advisable to take iodine supplements in addition to folic acid, as soon as you have a pregnancy wish. This will ensure that you do not have an iodine deficiency at the start of your pregnancy.”
Prof. Robin Peeters has a chair in the WIA Scientific Advisory Board, in the good company of Prof. Martin Broadley (University of Nottingham, Nottingham), Prof. Ismail Cakmak (Sabanci University, Istanbul), Dr Tim Korevaar (Erasmus MC, Rotterdam), Prof. Pierdomenico Perata (Scuola Superiora SantÁnna, Pisa), Prof. Massimo Tonacchera (University of Pisa, endocrinology, Pisa) and Dr. Peter J.J.M. Weterings (Weterings Consultancy B.V., Rosmalen NL)
Erasmus MC Press Release, 11 February 2016

World Iodine Association launched at CPhI in Madrid today

WIA offers new central information platform on uses, applications and benefits of iodine


Brussels (Belgium) / Madrid (Spain), 14 October 2015. – Today the World Iodine Association is officially launched. The new organisation offers a central information platform on uses, applications and benefits of iodine for industry and health of humans and animals. WIA represents iodine producers, distributors and end users in relevant industry and government bodies.
Iodine is an essential element for human and animal health, growth and development. Lack of iodine can cause iodine deficiency disorders. Iodine and its derivatives are indispensable in a wide range of nutritional, pharmaceutical and industrial applications.
The mission of WIA is to support and represent iodine producers, processors, formulators, distributors and end users in relevant industry bodies, and in relevant official government bodies around the world with respect to guidelines and regulations on iodine and its derivatives. WIA develops, supports and promotes the use of iodine and its derivatives in existing and novel uses and applications in the domains of human and animal health and industry. WIA provides information about the purposes, uses and applications of iodine and its derivatives to interested parties and wants to help eradicate global iodine deficiency.
WIA has elected Felipe Smith (SQM) as chairman of the Board of Directors. Bård Reinholdtsen (GE Healthcare) will be acting as treasurer. Founding members of WIA are Ajay Europe, Calibre Chemicals, GE Healthcare, Hypred SAS (Roullier Group), Iofina plc and SQM Europe. These companies are represented in the board of directors by Michel Pichon (Ajay), Ranjit Bhavnani (Calibre), Karina Kuzmak and Sebastién Bossard (Roullier Group), Frank Biot (SQM) and Tom Becker (Iofina). Akzo Nobel Salt Specialties has declared intent to join WIA as member.
Today WIA organises an information meeting in Madrid during the pharmaceutical event of CPhI Worldwide where it will also present its brand new website: WIA is working to establish a scientific advisory board to provide independent advice and review quality and relevance of science-based information and expert commentaries on the website, and assist in the organisation of scientific meetings.

Livestock can suffer from iodine deficiencies when cultivated soils are quite poor in certain trace-elements …

… due to changes in fertilizer practice, tillage systems and crop rotations. This also leads to shortage of these elements in animal feed. Eventually this leads to deficiencies in highly productive livestock. On top of that the legislation in Belgium has become stricter regarding the maximal amounts of certain minerals in feed supplements. This makes it difficult to ensure sufficient intake of trace-elements under all conditions.
A study conducted by the Flemish veterinary service (“Dierengezondheidszorg Vlaanderen”) in a previous project showed that the threshold for sufficient selenium in blood of Belgian White Blue cattle was not found in any of the 44 farms under investigation. These results triggered research into the iodine status of cattle, since previous Wallonian veterinary studies pointed to the possible occurrence of iodine deficiency in Belgium.
In the scope of a new “Veepeiler”-project, in 2013 a survey of iodine status was done on 341 cattle farms, located in 5 Flemish provinces. Blood samples were taken of 353 calves of Belgian White Blue directly after delivery. Originally the amount of thyroid hormone T4-gehalte was measured. Because this is not directly indicative of iodine status, total iodine in the blood was additionally measured in a later phase of the project. The amount of selenium in the blood samples was also measured, since thyroid hormone production is dependent on sufficient quantities of this trace-element.
Of all neonate calves tested, 68% did not have adequate amounts of iodine in their blood, and of these 34% were classified as iodine deficient. An adequate iodine supply is important for a healthy growth of young animals, preventing diminishment of milk- and meat yield and preventing weak calf syndrome. The selenium status was not adequate for 57% of the calves with 17% of these deficient. More than 10% of the calves were both deficient in iodine and in selenium, and among selenium deficient calves, the relative percentage of calves with adequate iodine content was reduced.
Additionally, the weight of the thyroid gland was measured in 20 stillborn calves, and 39% of these had an enlarged gland of more than 13 gram. The results of this project showed that it is important to monitor the supply of trace elements to cattle closely. Before starting supplementation, a good diagnose is imperative, because an overdose of iodine can also be harmful. It is recommended to seek advice from the veterinarian if a deficiency of trace-elements in the cattle is suspected.

The World Iodine association (WIA) will be registered …

… as an international non profit organisation.
The World Iodine Association (WIA) represents iodine producers, processors, distributors and end users in relevant industry and government bodies. The association offers a central information platform on uses, applications and benefits of iodine for animals and human health and industry.
Membership in WIA is composed of companies that are producers, processors, formulators, distributors or end users of iodine in relevant industry bodies of iodine and iodine derivatives, and members not involved in the industry, such as non-profit organisations and civil societies working on projects concerning iodine from their scientific interest.

WIA is looking forward to welcome new members. (Here you can become a member of WIA)

On April 16th, 2015 a meeting of current and potential effective members …

… was held in Antwerp, to organise the structure of the association. At this meeting the board of directors was nominated. The chairman of the board will be changed each year. In 2015 Felipe Smith (SQM) is chairing the board, and Bard Reinholdtsen (GE Healthcare) will be acting as treasurer. The other members of the board are: Frank Biot (SQM), Michel Pichon (Ajay), Ranjit Bhavnani (Calibre), Sébastien Bossard (Roullier) and Karina Kuzmak-Bourdet (Roullier).