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Iodine Deficiency

Low iodine intake can cause several diseases in humans and animals which are defined as iodine deficiency disorders (IDD). The symptoms comprise goitre, a non-cancerous enlargement of the thyroid gland, cretinism and hypothyroidism.

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Several strategies against iodine deficiency exist, such as mineral supplementation, food fortification and crop biofortification. The most widely used instrument is universal salt iodization (USI).

The main issue with crop bio-fortification is that consumers could perceive the end products as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Furthermore, they could fall within the scope of the Novel Food Regulation 2083/2015 and therefore must go through a special procedure before being placed on the market.

The Krakow Declaration on Iodine resulted from the multi- stakeholder EU-funded project, EUthyroid. The Declaration calls on policymakers, public health officials and scientists to join forces to ensure that existing strategies to prevent IDD are implemented across Europe.

WIA is actively involved in the EU-funded project EUthyroid2, aiming to raise awareness of the importance of iodine, which in many countries is neglected. 

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Impact on the iodine sector

Initiatives adopted to tackle the problem of iodine deficiency, as the one of the WHO, represent an opportunity for the iodine industry both in terms of business and image.

No international legislative framework regulates iodine intake and/or (crop) bio-fortification. In the case of Europe, Member States’ national health policies deal with this, making Europe a scattered, uncertain market for the iodine sector from a regulatory point of view.

Should you wish to receive more detailed information about this topic, or specific applications of iodine within your sector, please feel free to contact the World Iodine Association.

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