Salt is a condiment that almost anyone in the world can’t miss in the kitchen. Its chemical characteristics have made salt an ideal tool to provide additional nutrient iodine to the diet without noticable changes in smell and taste. Iodized salt has been recommended by the WHO and achieved a remarkable reduction in iodine deficiency diseases in most countries across the world. This success encouraged the food industry to explore the possibilities to add other nutrients to the iodized salt to solve critical vitamin and mineral deficiencies. One of them is iron deficiency.

Double-fortified salt with iron sounds promissing. There are already first steps taken in this area (e.g. in India). However, there are still quite a few challenges to overcome. First of all, adding iron (in the form of ferrous sulfate or encapsulated ferrous fumarate) may lead to losses in iodine and cause the color change in salt, if it is of low quality due to impurities, high moisture, and large crystal size. So you need iodized salt of the highest quality and a high-quality iron formulation in order to minimize these effects. You also need to think about the proportions between iodine and iron to achieve the best possible effects without compromizing the salt quality. Last, but not least, the appropriate packaging of iodized salt and well-established supply chain and storage are also important to prevent nutrient losses and preserve the quality. This all makes double-fortified salt more expensive and therefore less affordable to the market.

There is another area of concern. Even if the balance between quality and the price of double-fortified salt will be achieved, this should not lead to an increase of salt intake, as too much of salt, even the most healthy one, harm your health on the long run. Besides, there are other fortified products on the market. So, be careful not to overdose yourself! Because even the healthy nutrients, if taken too much, turn their health benefits into health problems!

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Tatsiana Haponava, PhD

a certified nutrition coach, educator and researcher with a PhD degree

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