Investigating the causes of low iodized salt usage

Cambodia made a commitment to ensure that more than 80% of households have access to iodized salt, but as of 2017 just 55% of Cambodia’s population had access to iodized salt, and the most recent survey of population iodine status showed clear evidence of deficiency.

In 2018, the Cambodian government introduced new policies aimed at improving manufacturing standards, worker safety, quality control, and an online monitoring system for salt production.

Due to COVID-19 and adverse weather conditions likely caused by climate change, production of salt, including iodized salt, has dropped significantly in the two major salt producing areas. Land loss from torrential rains means availability of iodized salt on the market is limited, with implications for the health and brain development of children.



Improve salt production and iodization capacity and monitoring.

Assess Cambodia's population iodine status.

Taking action

The government, UNICEF, and IGN are working together to understand what went wrong and take corrective action. IGN aims to collect and organize data on policies and programs, interview and discuss with stakeholders, and observe and analyze production and regulation of the salt industry.

The partners will be able to identify the causes of low iodized salt availability and take the necessary steps to turn a program with slippage into one that again provides the iodine nutrition that protects children’s brain development.

With the help of IGN’s expertise and support, millions of children in Cambodia can be protected from loss of learning ability and health due to iodine deficiency.

© UNICEF/Cambodia

UNICEF Cambodia


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