The Health Department has announced that seasoning powder that is not fortified with iodine will be banned from importation into Myanmar.
At present, seasoning powder imported to Myanmar contains salt but they are not iodized. The Health Department, the Food and Drug Administration Department (FDA), and the Ministry of Mines will carry out a joint drive to ban non-iodized seasoning powder, said Dr. Htein Lin, Deputy Director of the Nutrition Department, under the Health Department.
“Seasoning powder that is already in the market will not be affected. But in the future, only iodized seasoning powder will be imported,” he said.
Around 60 percent of the total population of Myanmar suffer from iodine deficiency and the departments have come up with this plan to combat the deficiency, he added.
Dr. Tun Zaw, Deputy Director of the FDA, said, “We have had discussions with the Health Department to decide the amount of iodine that seasoning powder should contain. The FDA will examine the imported seasoning powder.”
Dr. Nay Lin, Secretary of the parliamentary Health Promotion Committee, said that the plan to ban non-iodized seasoning powder is a positive move.
“The FDA will have to inspect seasoning powder at the border gates. We do not have enough laboratories and staff. This is also the reason why unhealthy food have been imported. So the FDA has to try to overcome these problems,” he said.
According to surveys of the Health Promotion Committee, iodine deficiency is highest in people living in Ayeyarwady region, Chin state, Kayin (Karen) state, Kayah (Karenni) state and southern Shan state.