British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Dietary Surveys and Nutritional Epidemiology

Reduction of salt: will iodine intake remain adequate in The Netherlands?

Janneke Verkaik-Kloostermana1a2 c1, Pieter van 't Veera2 and Marga C. Ockéa1

a1 National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands

a2 Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands


Salt is the main vehicle for iodine fortification in The Netherlands. A reduction in salt intake may reduce the supply of iodine. Our aim was to quantify the effect of salt reduction on the habitual iodine intake of the Dutch population and the risk of inadequate iodine intake. We used data of the Dutch National Food Consumption Survey (1997–8) and an update of the food composition database to estimate habitual salt and iodine intake. To take into account uncertainty about the use of iodised salt (industrial and discretionary) and food supplements, a simulation model was used. Habitual iodine and salt intakes were simulated for scenarios of salt reduction and compared with no salt reduction. With 12, 25 and 50 % salt reduction in industrially processed foods, the iodine intake remained adequate for a large part of the Dutch population. For the extreme scenario of a 50 % reduction in both industrially and discretionary added salt, iodine intake might become inadequate for part of the Dutch population (up to 10 %). An increment of the proportion of industrially processed foods using iodised salt or a small increase in iodine salt content will solve this. Nevertheless, 8–35 % of 1- to 3-year-old children might have iodine intakes below the corresponding estimated average requirement (EAR), depending on the salt intake scenario. This points out the need to review the EAR value for this age group or to suggest the addition of iodine to industrially manufactured complementary foods.

(Received January 07 2010)

(Revised June 04 2010)

(Accepted June 08 2010)

(Online publication July 19 2010)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Janneke Verkaik-Kloosterman, fax +31 30 2744466, email


Abbreviations: EAR, estimated average requirement