The Use of Iodized Salt in Processed Foods: Empirical Evidence and the Role of Regulation

Roland Herrmann, Katharina Bissinger, Irmgard Jordan


Salt policy is an important element of European nutrition policy. Whereas the per-capita intake of salt in the population is viewed as being too high for health reasons, the intake of iodized salt helps to counteract iodine deficiency. Given this tradeoff, the principle “If salt, then iodized salt!” is formulated in German health and nutrition policy. We address the question whether food processors follow this rule and why this is so. A market study for German grocery retailing and 30,345 processed foods in the food groups bread, meat and milk reveals that the share of products with iodized salt is low and much below the use of iodized salt in private houzseholds. Expert interviews and online surveys of food processors suggest at least three reasons for this evidence: (i) There is incomplete information among food processors with regard to the health benefits of iodized salt. (ii) A minority of salt consumers is actively opposing the iodization of salt. (iii) The reduced use of iodized salt due to (i) and (ii) is not compensated by governmental regulation and an active information and support policy for salt fortification.

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ISSN 2194-511X


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