Finnish dairy Valio to detail iodine content on all milk cartons
As of this month, the iodine content of Valio PremierPlus protein-enriched milk will be detailed on the front and back of cartons in Finland and Sweden.
By May 2015, the 16 micrograms (µg) per 100ml iodine content of all Valio basic, lactose-free, and protein-enriched milk and milk powder will be detailed beneath calcium on the nutrition label of each package.
“In addition, we have the following nutrition claim in the face of the milk packages: Milk is a natural source of calcium, iodine, B-vitamins, and protein,” Marika Laaksonen, development manager, Valio, told DairyReporter.com.
The European Union (EU) recommends that adults consume 150µg of iodine per day.
Drinking half a litre a day of Valio milk, with its 16 micrograms (µg) iodine per 100ml, would however leave an adult more than half way towards the EU recommended daily intake (RDI) of 150µg, Valio claims.
Iodine deficiency can lead to insufficient thyroid function, and chronic cases can result in goite, an enlargement of the thyroid gland. Deficiency is a particular concern during pregnancy, a time when women are urged to consume around 200µg of iodine daily.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Nordic Nutrition Recommendation (NNR) consider iodine deficiency to be common among working age Finns.
Iodine deficiency has, according to Valio, been the subject of much public discussion in recent months.
In August 2014, Valtion ravitsemusneuvottelukunnan, the Finnish Nutrition Council, urged Finns to increase their consumption of iodine.
“The Finnish Nutrition Council recommends increased consumption of iodine and considers milk products a significant source,” said Laaksonen.
“As a responsible company Valio wants to help increase the knowledge of consumers about their iodine needs and milk products being an important source of iodine in the Finnish and Swedish diets.”
Despite the increase in public awareness, Valio believes communication will be vital to "take the topic to a more practical level."
"The main message from Valio is that in Finland and Sweden daily recommendations for milk products is about 500ml, which provides 80 micrograms of iodine - more than half the adult RDI for iodine," said Laaksonen.
To ensure this is properly conveyed, Valio will communicate with health care experts, nutrition specialists, customers, consumers and the media, Laaksonen added.