***INFO PENDING***Iodized Salt Question to the USDA (for LID consideration)

https://www.inspire.com/groups/thyca-thyroid-cancer-survivors-association/d iscussion/fda-input-on-salt-as-an-ingredient/?msg_activity=reply_posted&rep ly_id=2827813

https://www.inspire.com/jani72/journal/salt-in-manufactured-food-for-lid-co nsideration/

I was able to make contact with a person at the USDA - FSIS division. Here is their website:


Here is my question:

If iodized salt is used in manufactured food, must 'iodized salt' be
listed in the ingredients. Or is listing it as 'salt' good enough?

Here is her answer:

Response Via Email (Sally Jones)01/10/2012 05:22 AM

It needs to be listed as "iodized salt."

Edited February 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

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41 replies. Join the discussion

WOW!!!! Jani72....You rule! That is great news. Nothing like going straight to the source.

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Nice work!

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If that is true and mfg goes along with it, then that changes a lot in the LID. I do not eat that many prepared foods anyhow, but when on the diet, it would be nice to have a few things eatable around that are. I just am not sure I would trust the manufacturers! thanks for checking. good site too!

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I was under the impression that it's always been required, but companies don't always bother to do it. If iodized salt is cheaper this week, they'll buy it, but they won't change their labels. Unfortunately, although it is a law, it's one that isn't really enforced. I seriously doubt the cops are gonna show up at Wonder Bread and bust them for using iodized salt... you know what I mean?

Don't get me wrong, good on you for taking the initiative and checking it out. I just wish I could trust big corporations.

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That is great to know. I had contacted a few local companies, for instance I know Herr's Potato chips uses Iodized Salt.

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Jani - you definately Rule. Will make the next time - much easier. Thanks.

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I completely agree with Sunnysue on this one... they will buy and use whatever is cheapest, and the FDA does not have the resources to double check what every manufacturer uses in every batch of food they make.

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Then why have laws and guidelines? Why trust any of the ingredients or food listed on the label?

Each person should take it as they like but the facts are there are reputable resources which state that if iodized salt is used it MUST - BY LAW - be listed as iodized salt.

Not only does the USDA confirm this, but the NIH Clinic LID (listed below) states the FDA mandates that by law:


I don't have time to search for the boogey man over my shoulder. If a person doesn't trust government agencies or food manufacturers, then they don't.

But don't ruin it for everyone else by spreading unfounded fear.

And believe me, the USDA and FDA have nothing to do BUT make sure that food manufacturers are following the letter of the law. That is what they do.

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You make me sound like some kind of fearmonger. I'm not trying to spread fear... just information. Many sources, including my doctors, indicated that companies do not always list iodized salt, despite the law. Herr's is a great example. If, as Melissa says, Herr's uses iodized salt, then they make my point for me... since I just looked up their tortilla chips and on the ingredients, it just says "salt."

Yes, the FDA and USDA are there to make sure that food manufacturers are following the law. But I'm sure they have better things to do than police iodized salt, since it is NOT dangerous. If you want to believe this means you can eat anything that just says salt, more power to you. Everyone can make their own choices based on information presented.

For example, I don't care how much iodine is in dairy. I still put a splash of milk in my tea in the morning on LID. That's my choice.

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Sunny The Herr's factory is litterally a mile from me, and the individual with whom I got the information from was a teenager who called someone else I don't know who was on the other line. I do know a person who works there that I am going to ask the same question to he litterally supervises the making of the chips. I am going to get him to check the bag so we can be 100% sure the information I provided is correct. If the USDA says a company has to list it as iodized then there are spot checks. And all companies would fail at some point and time if they were not. There are companies contracted by the government that specifally do speciman testing of this nature. For instance I work at ABC Tomato company. Every week I have to send a certain percentage of product to be tested by the FDA to this contracted company. They test it there and report back to me at ABC Tomato company as well as the government. What I do not know is do they specifically test salt. :) There are a lot of ifs, but I have to agree with jani if I get better information from Herrs from the individual I specifcally know stating it isn't iodized salt, I will definately be not so paranoid next time around. I will probably eat more prepackaged foods.

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The whole LID thing is about percentages anyway. A lot of people don't do the lid at all and things work out just fine.
Let me say that i agree with the doing the LID 100%. If you are going to go through with RAI and all this crap give yourself the best chance for a successful outcome.

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I agree with cflo, just do the best you can while on the diet. I know it doesn't make sense that some of us have to do the LID, and some of us don't and still get good results. I've been on the LID for 11 days now and I have had a bagel once or twice and I don't think that will make or break my results (RAI next Wednesday). I just can't wait for it to be over with :)

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Hi sunnysue,

No, I'm not calling you a fear monger. There are 3 government agencies with the function of either overseeing food processing or public health stating that, if used, iodized salt MUST be listed as iodized salt.

What 'many sources' do you have to counter this? And I ask, just as a 'consider the source' point.

Medical Doctors know medicine, not food manufacture. My husband has an MD and PhD and he doesn't know sh!t about the manufacture of food (or manufacturing at all).

If we really want to look at it, why is it only between salt & iodized salt. Why not throw sea salt into the equation? We don't worry about salt being sea salt. I mean, if companies are just going to willy-nilly put in the cheapest salt available, how does this rule out sea salt? Sea salt is always more expensive?

My guess is, because it must be labeled as such. And how do we know sea salt is sea salt. They could just be saying sea salt, but we have a general trust that food companies (and the government) truthfully label food.

So back to my previous post's point, if a person doesn't trust government agencies or food manufacturers, then they don't.

But there are plenty of people who do trust.

I think the conversation is well represented on each side and people have plenty to base their decision on.

Personally, I wouldn't rule out manufactured food containing salt on LID for myself. But that's me. And I eat very little manufactured food. But I LOVE to cook. And not everyone loves to cook.

Not loving to cook and having to rely on more manufactured products shouldn't exclude a person from doing LID. I find it really frustrating and disheartening that peoples' attempts on this discussion board to bring up a LID friendly, manufactured product are shot down, especially because it contains salt.

So that's that. USDA and FDA say products - Must - BY LAW - list iodized salt as iodized salt.

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For the two weeks that the diet requires I would rather just starve any thyroid cells that may be left behind of any iodine. Although the diet is not exactly enjoyable to some, I found using the LID recipes provided by the associations makes it more tolerable. I do not trust labels. When I did my LID I stayed away from as much packaged foods as I could even if salt was not on the label. Use, or prepare the real think as much as possible.

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That's great that that is what worked for you :)

I have a best friend who can't even boil water, much less follow a recipe. LID would be really hard for her, period.

Some people have to rely on packaged foods because that is what they know. A person shouldn't have to learn how to cook to be able to take advantage of a low iodine diet.

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Jani, I was going to just let this go and essentially cede the point, but your question about sources really made me think. It's been awhile since I first learned about LID, and other than what my doctors told me, I couldn't remember exactly where I heard about manufacturers using iodized salt and not listing it. Then, I remembered..... Thyca.org. I guess this is the only real source I had, but I trusted it.... /shrug

I am not trying to be contentious. I think you are just trying to help everyone. I am, too. :)

"What About Manufactured and Processed Foods?

Some published low-iodine diets and researchers' presentations allow salty processed foods and other processed foods. Some of these foods include potato chips and cured and corned foods such as hot dogs, ham, corned beef, sauerkraut, bacon, sausage, and salami.

Currently, manufacturers of processed foods in the USA generally use non-iodized salt. However, food processing techniques can change and labels are not always accurate or up to date.

For that reason, if fresh foods are available, many patients prefer to eat fresh foods during the short period of being on the low- iodine diet. They avoid processed food, because it is not known for sure whether or not iodized salt has been used. For any processed food, it is also important read the label to be sure there is no Red Dye #3.

In the past some patients have contacted manufacturers asking whether or not they used iodized salt in their products or iodine-containing cleansers or sanitizers for their equipment and surfaces involved in food processing. Doing this is NOT recommended for the following reasons:

Manufacturers cannot guarantee that the ingredients they receive from their suppliers do not contain iodized salt.
Manufacturers may change procedures and may use iodine-based cleaners or sanitizers on food-processing surfaces, utensils, equipment, and containers used in processing steps.
Because fewer and fewer manufacturers in the USA have been using iodized salt in their food processing, there seems to be a rise in iodine deficiency. It might become the practice to start using iodized salt again.
Also, some spice blends like chili powder may contain added salt."


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:)) (so you know, my intention is only a friendly discussion) :))

Yes, I have seen that, that is the first info I came in contact with.

In my opinion, thyca.org should do some updating to their info.

They say "Currently, manufacturers of processed foods in the USA generally use non-iodized salt. However, food processing techniques can change and labels are not always accurate or up to date."

I don't know when they last reviewed this info, but it is now law that if iodized salt is used, then it must be labeled as such. I have no idea when the law came into effect but it's law. So, in my opinion, thyca.org is kind of out dated.

The NIH lid explicitly states that listing Iodized Salt as Iodized Salt is an FDA law.

I'll take the NIH (National Institutes of Health) word on it over thyca.org. But that's me.

I am also not trying to be contentious - I think it is a good and fair discussion :))

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Actually, this is becoming quite an interesting discussion to me. I just found a website where a woman claims she spoke with an FDA agent (2009), and was given different information from you, Jani.

She says: "The only time when salt is required to actually identify itself as iodized or not-iodized is when it is just being sold as salt. Salt is a "finished food," according to the FDA. It's an end-product. But when you buy, say, a cake mix, in which the salt is not a "finished food" itself but is just an ingredients, the FDA says it's just supposed to be labeled "salt." Whether it's iodized or non-iodized, it's supposed to be called salt."

She also refers to a petition filed by a J. Shingara in 2007 called "Requirements of Iodized Salt on Ingredient Labels," which is STILL listed as "pending" on the FDA website.

And the most interesting part to me was kind of a tagline at the end, referring to her conversation with the FDA agent. She says: "Many countries require all their salt to be iodized. But the woman at the FDA said "labeling issues" are not nearly as high priority as food safety issues and so on. So it doesn't seem like we'll see this as an issue in the United States anytime soon."

So what we to make of this??? This woman's conversation was, granted, in 2009, and it IS possible that the laws have changed since then. But don't companies normally get cut some slack, or at least have some time to change their procedures, when a new law is passed? A woman at the FDA told Jani just recently that companies ARE required to list iodized salt. This conflicts directly with another conversation with the FDA on the same subject!

I'm not sure what to believe, honestly.

You can find the entire discussion and the FDA petition at these web addresses: http://www.empowher.com/community/ask/do-processed-and-fast-food-contain-io dine

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Just want to add as far as trusting labels: I found jarred tomatoes in a high-end (Whole Foods like) store listed "Ingredients: tomatoes.... sodium: 325mg." Tomatoes don't have that much sodium - the amount was in line with standard salted tomato sauces but salt was no where on the label. Finally found tomatoes in waxed cardboard box that truly were salt free and they had about 15mg of naturally occurring sodium (for comparison).

Also, I have eaten relishes (not on LID) which were labelled as only having "lime, chili, oil, salt." But had whole green peas clear as day in the bottle.

Last example: snacks that were supposed to be made of only puffed rice, but had whole cashews in them totally not on the label. And that's a major allergy, so has potential to be life-threatening to some! Yet, mislabeled.

Personally (my opinion only) - I would only indulge in a limited selection of manufactured foods if really needed and IF my doctor would agree to do a 24 hour urine study to make sure my iodine level was low enough prior to treatment. But my doctors blew that off as not at all needed - not sure what the experience is from others around the country but I get the impression that many docs don't bother checking whether the LID diet was strict enough or not prior to treatment. So I felt no choice but to follow the diet strictly since I wasn't allowed any other proof that I had done good enough.

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Yes, I ran into that. The info is old. I don't know who the poster is (as in background, credentials). She's 'some woman' posting in the comments section with information true or not.

She is not even aware that sea salt contains iodine.

She spoke with a 'nice woman' at the FDA who wouldn't even give her name? I don't know. In the USDA email, the person's name who responded is in the email - and I included it in the info here.

I generally don't trust info provided in comments section of random websites.

I have information from the USDA just a few days ago - January 2012 - which says labels must indicated 'iodized salt', if iodized salt is used.

Again - each person will have to decide if the info I have presented in this discussion from a NIH Clinic quoting the FDA law, to the USDA email stating foods must list 'Iodized Salt' if iodized salt is used, is trustworthy. Again, I would trust these sources.

As to LesterNathan's comment, "I would only indulge in a limited selection of manufactured foods if really needed and IF my doctor would agree to do a 24 hour urine study to make sure my iodine level was low enough prior to treatment."

Shouldn't it be this way anyhow??? This whole LID loses much merit in my eyes as most doctor's do not even measure iodine levels anyhow. How does anyone know how much iodine they are truly eating. No one knows as there is no regulatory agency that measures these things.

All the fresh fruits and veggies a person eats could very easily be grown in high iodine soil. How do we EVER REALLY KNOW??

Personally, I have not run across apparent labeling issues. I have never eaten a packaged product and wondered, 'what the heck is that' looked at the label and not seen the ingredient listed. Or noticed a discrepancy between sodium content and salt as an ingredient.

I read a lot of labels, I buy a lot of no salt added, unsalted and reduced sodium foods. But for my families general health, not LID. I trust when a manufacturer lists 'Sea Salt" as an ingredient, it really is sea salt, not iodized table salt or salt. And I see now that if a product were to use iodized salt, it would need to be listed as iodized salt, just as sea salt is listed as sea salt.

But hey, that's me.

I don't know who else to ask about salt in processed foods, who else would be an authority to back up the NIH claim that the FDA mandates the labeling by law, aside from the USDA, who has stated, in writing, that it must be listed as iodized salt.

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