Memorandum of Understanding re salt iodisation in Australia & New Zealand

We the undersigned, hereby acknowledge our agreement on the following issues:

1. There is irrefutable evidence that iodine deficiency has become a significant public health issue in Australia and New Zealand.

2. Iodine deficiency is a major risk to the development of unborn and young children in Australia and New Zealand, and is a major risk for thyroid disease at all ages.

3. Urgent action is needed immediately to correct this situation. Otherwise increasing numbers of Australian and New Zealand children may be born with irreversible reductions in IQ and increasing numbers of people of all ages may be affected by goitre, thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer.

4. The proposed intervention of iodisation of salt in bread alone, is not sufficient to have any real impact on the problem.

5. The preferred option is immediate implementation of USI universal salt iodisation at a rate of 30 to 60 mcg iodine per gram of salt. We call upon FSANZ and the food industry to implement USI immediately.

6. We support supplementation of women with iodine before and during pregnancy and lactation, but are aware that many women will miss out. These women and their children have a right to the protection afforded by universal salt iodisation.

7. We support the ICCIDD’s call upon the NHMRC to rescind its contentious upper limit of iodine intakes for 1 to 3 year olds. Currently this upper limit is a very small 200mcg per day which ICCIDD inform us is actually a very safe intake. This amount could be left open or set to 1000mcg daily pending more definitive data. This upper limit is proving to be a major obstacle to the implementation of USI. Once NHMRC have rescinded the upper limit for 1 to 3 year olds we repeat our call for FSANZ to implement USI immediately .

8. If needed we will support the ICCIDD if it calls upon the State and Federal Health Ministers to consider urgently mandating the introduction of USI using their discretionary and emergency powers.

ICCIDD= International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders
FSANZ= Food Standards ANZ
NHMRC= National Health and Medical Research Council
USI= Universal Salt Iodisation

Please email any comments to Iodine Australia



  1. On behalf of The Australian Thyroid Foundation, I would like to congratulate Dr. Ben Balzer and support the precise and thorough information available on this website.

    Iodine deficiency has re-emerged in Australian with future generations of children at risk of the consequences of this national problem.

    The F.S.A.N.Z. need to address the issue of iodine deficiency now, making sure everyone in this country is protected, particularly pregnant and breastfeeding women. Therefore babies will not be delivered with symptoms of iodine deficiency.

    As you will read on this site, Australian children cannot be placed in a situation through a Government decision where their IQ could be impaired or they are effected by the many other symptoms as a result of this national health issue.

    Without the F.S.A.N.Z. addressing this issue and correcting iodine deficiency by deciding to mandatory fortify all processed foods with iodised salt, there is no guarantee this problem will not continue to worsen and therefore place a huge social and economic burden on Australia.

    The Australian Thyroid Foundation support all that needs to be done to correct Iodine Deficiency and continually work to support and educate the Australian public on the importance of good thyroid health through a correct diet including a daily intake of iodine.

  2. I support the memorandum of understanding re salt iodisation in Australia and New Zealand.
    Dr Ben Balzer, General Practitioner
    109 Morgan St
    Beverly Hills NSW 2209

  3. There is an urgent need to address the issue of the reemergence of iodine deficiency in Australia. This should be carried out according to the well defined method of Universal Salt Iodisation that is the policy of the WHO, UNICEF and ICCIDD.

  4. The National Nutrition Committee of the Australian Academy of Science supports this MoU. The Academy sponsored a one-day forum on the rise of iodine deficiency in Australia on 26 May 2008. A summary can be found at

  5. The Australian National Iodine Nutrition Study has shown that Australian schoolchildren are iodine deficient. Evidence has also shown that even mild, subclinical maternal iodine deficiency during pregnancy impairs motor and mental development of fetus. Urgent action needs to be taken in Australia. Fortify bread with iodised salt is not sufficient to protect the Australian population. This should be done though Universal Salt Iodisation with close monitoring and evaluation.

  6. I congratulate Dr Ben Balzer in his efforts to have the iodine deficiency situation in Australia better recognised by health authorities and government. I do not believe that the iodisation of salt in bread will resolve the iodine deficiency situation. I do not believe that it is reasonable that one section of the food industry (the bread industry) should bear the costs and responsibility for bringing additional iodine to our population. I urge the entire food industry to get behind a campaign to use iodised salt in all foods in this country. I support this MoU prepared by Ben Balzer.

  7. Australian Academy of Science, National Committee for Nutrition, supports MOU in this letter click here

  8. Iodine deficiency, iron deficiency and lead exposure are, in my view, the three main reasons that children in Australia and New Zealand are not achieving their IQ potential. All three are entirely preventable and all can be solved in Australia by appropriate policies from the National Health and Medical Research Council, including education campaigns. The Lead Education and Abatement Design (LEAD) Group Inc. (an Australian health promotion charity that operates a global lead poisoning prevention information and referral service) supports the Memorandum of Understanding re: salt iodisation in Australia and New Zealand, developed by Dr Ben Balzer. Dr Balzer has been a tireless advocate, for well over a decade, for children to reach their IQ potential. He brings a wealth of understanding of the medico-legal and nutritional aspects of this quest to his long-standing honorary position on the Technical Advisory Board of The LEAD Group. I applaud this excellently researched and well-constructed website.

  9. I wholeheartedly support this MOU as put forward by a true leader in the field, Dr Ben Balzer

    Dr Ted Arnold
    Medical Director
    Executive Health Management

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