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East Afr Med J. 2003 Oct;80(10):532-9.

Iodine concentration in salt at household and retail shop levels in Shebe town, south west Ethiopia.

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  • 1South People Nations and Nationalities People's Regional Health Bureau, Jimma, Ethiopia.



To determine the level of iodine in the salt at the retail shop and consumption levels and assess the knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) of food caterers and shopkeepers about iodized salt and iodine deficiency disorders (IDD).


Cross-sectional community based.


Retail shops and households in Shebe town-Jimma zone, southwest Oromiya region.


Thirty three shopkeepers and 299 food caterers of households in Shebe town.


The iodine content of household salt samples ranged, from 0-75 PPM and that of the shop samples ranged from 0.1-75 PPM. Eighty one per cent of household salt samples and 82% of shop salt samples have iodine levels below the minimum standard set by the Quality and Standard Authority of Ethiopia. Knowledge about iodized salt was fairly lower for food caterers (21%) than shopkeepers (57.6%). More (80%) of shopkeepers have favourable attitude than household food caterers (50.6%). Improper practices of food caterers related to iodized salt were found to be associated with female sex (P<0.01), Amhara ethnicity (P<0.001), Orthodox religion (P=0.008), literacy status (P=0.04) and occupation (P=0.01). Good knowledge, about iodized salt was significantly associated with favourable attitude among food caterers (P<0.001).


This study demonstrated that high proportions of residents in Shebe town were consuming inadequately iodized salt. There is a marked loss of iodine from salt by the time it reaches to consumption level in that some households were found to use salt with zero iodine content, whereas, all salt samples collected from the shops have at least some iodine. Poor awareness about iodized salt among food caterers and even in shopkeepers was also disclosed in this study. Socio-demographic factors such as ethnicity, religion, sex, lower educational level of food caterers might have an influence on poor, household practices like exposure of salt to sunlight. Information, education and communication on the importance consuming iodized salt and its proper handling in the house and regular monitoring of the salt iodine level at consumer level is essential for elimination of IDD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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