Salt iodisation is considered a key public health measure for assuring adequate iodine intake in iodine-deficient countries. In Slovenia, the iodisation of all salt was made mandatory in 1953. A considerable regulatory change came in 2003 with the mandatory iodisation of rock and evaporated salt only. In addition, joining the European Union's free single market in 2004 enabled the import of non-iodised salt. The objective of this study was to investigate the extent of salt iodising in the food supply. We examined both the availability and sale of (non-)iodised salt. Average sales-weighted iodine levels in salt were calculated using the results of a national monitoring of salt quality. Data on the availability and sales of salts were collected in major food retailers in 2014. Iodised salt represented 59.2% of the salt samples, and 95.9% of salt sales, with an average (sales-weighted) level of 24.2 mg KI/kg of salt. The average sales-weighted KI level in non-iodised salts was 3.5 mg KI/kg. We may conclude that the sales-weighted average iodine levels in iodised salt are in line with the regulatory requirements. However, the regulatory changes and the EU single market have considerably affected the availability of non-iodised salt. While sales of non-iodised salt are still low, non-iodised salt represented 33.7% of the salts in our sample. This indicates the existence of a niche market which could pose a risk of inadequate iodine intake in those who deliberately decide to consume non-iodised salt only. Policymakers need to provide efficient salt iodisation intervention to assure sufficient iodine supply in the future. The reported sales-weighting approach enables cost-efficient monitoring of the iodisation of salt in the food supply.
Žmitek, K., & Pravst, I. (2016). Iodisation of salt in Slovenia: Increased availability of non-iodised salt in the food supply. Nutrients, 8(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8070434