NNC Caraga conducted the first Regional Bantay Asin Task Force (RBATF) Virtual Meeting last September 22, 2020 via Google Meet. Discussions include the updates on regional salt monitoring and list of salt distributors and retailers in the region, updates on ASIN monitoring guidelines and checklist, updates on the WYD machine and reagents, and the need to organize and operationalize the Local Bantay Asin Task Force at different administrative level.
Ms. Richel Prado, the representative of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Caraga shared about the agency’s regular market surveillance including the monitoring of salts sold in the local supermarkets and inspection of availability of License to Operate (LTO) permit among salt distributors and retailers in the region. Results of the salt samples collected was also presented.
Representatives from Salinas Foods, Incorporated also joined in the meeting and oriented the participants about the WYD machine and reagents, they also addressed queries from the participants on how to acquire and procure the WYD machine. Further, they also give emphasis that training on the use of the WYD machine will be included in the package.
OIC – Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Retsebeth M. Laquihon stressed the importance of strengthening the implementation of RA 8172 or “An Act Promoting Salt Iodization Nationwide and For Other Purposes” by establishing a functional monitoring mechanism through the Bantay Asin Task Force to ensure that only adequately iodized salt is available in the market, food establishments and households. Further, she enjoined the local government units through the nutrition action officers and the technical working group to support the campaign and implementation of salt iodization program in the region to fight the battle against micronutrient deficiencies particularly Iodine Deficiency Disorder that delays mental development and physical growth of children.
The participants was also encouraged to attend during the next RBATF XIII Meeting on the 4th quarter for the formulation of the Regional Salt Iodization Plan for CY 2021 highlighting the expansion of RBATF membership; advocacy campaigns, information dissemination and the monitoring and evaluation component.