MOSCOW, March 7 (RIA Novosti) – Uzbekistan plans to ban imports of non-iodized salt by the end of the year in a drive to combat nutritional deficiencies among the Central Asian nation’s population, a lawmaker told RIA Novosti on Friday.
A deputy in the Oly Majlis, Uzbekistan’s lower house of parliament, said changes would be made in the third quarter of 2014 to laws aimed at combating diseases caused by iodine deficiency.
Health specialists link iodine deficiency with infantile brain damage and thyroid malfunction. Scarcity in iodine also increases the risk of infant mortality, miscarriage and stillbirth.
The law in Uzbekistan is being developed as part of the government’s “Year of the Healthy Child” project.
Lack of iodine became an issue for Uzbekistan after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when supplies of iodized salt from Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine fell away. By 1998, 92.7 percent of the population was using non-iodized salt, according to the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders. That figure had dropped to just under 50 percent by 2009, according to ICCIDD data.
A law on “Protection Against Iodine-Deficiency Related Diseases” came into effect in May 2007.
Under the regulations, edible salt produced domestically is subject to mandatory iodination.
Another law adopted at the end of 2010 requires all high-grade wheat flour and salt to be nutritionally fortified.