Through a direction dated 24 August 2018, the FSSAI has exempted the use of the fortification +F logo from the use of labels of iodized salt. On 2 August 2018, the FSSAI had published in the Gazette of India the standards for the fortification of foods.
These regulations known as the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2018, provide for the display of the +F logo on the label of fortified food so as to promote the voluntary fortification of food products. The regulations state that Every package of fortified food shall carry the words “fortified with ………… (name of the fortificant)” and the logo.
However, according to government rules, common salt meant for direct consumption cannot be sold in the market or offered for sale without iodization. Iodization of salt has been mandatory since 2005 and so common salt does not require any such promotion or identity as being fortified. Therefore, the FSSAI has exempted iodized salt (when it is fortified with iodine) from displaying the +F logo on the label.
Another reason for exempting the +F logo on iodized salt is to differentiate between iodized salt and Double Fortified Salt. It is mandatory to sell only iodized salt to consumers and that contains only iodine. However, according to fortification standards Double Fortified Salt is fortified with both iodine and iron, where iodine and iron are combined. FSSAI has decided that if only iodine is used as fortification then there is no need to display the +F logo as iodization is mandatory. However, Double Fortified Salt will carry the +F log on the label.
History of Salt Iodisation in India
In India, the salt iodization programme begin in the 1950s after the study of Professor V. Ramalingaswamy and his associates in Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh established Iodine Deficiency as the causative factor for endemic goitre. The study concluded that consuming salt iodized with potassium iodate was the most economic and easiest means of its prevention and control in a population. After this, the Government of India launched the National Goitre Control Programme (NGCP) in 1962 through which the goitre endemic regions in India were provided with common salt that was iodized. Initially, only public sector undertakings were permitted to produce iodized salt. However, because of the shortage of iodized salt, the government of India reviewed the iodisation programme in 1983 and announced policy liberalization to promote the production of iodized salt through private players too. The government also decided in 1984 to iodize the entire edible salt in a phased manner by 1992. Through sustained efforts use of iodized salt in the diet has proved cost-effective in controlling Iodine Deficiency Disorders. Since salt is consumed daily iodized salt ensures availability of iodine for all body functions.