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DoH Position on Dietary Iodine

This is an email received by Dr M from the Department of Health about 18 months ago.

Not much movement there then!

Subject: Re: 1. Coma committee 2. Department of Health position on dietary Iodine 3. Ditto Fluoride exposure
To: dt
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2012 15:53:30 +0000

Dear M****,

Thank you for your email. Please see the reply to your three points below:

1That is correct, SACN is an UK wide advisory committee set up to replace the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA).

2 The Department is aware of recent research by Dr Vanderpump1, which claims young women in the UK are mildly iodine deficient. I am pleased to report that SACN is looking at this issue. A draft paper summarising the current evidence on iodine deficiency in the UK was discussed by SACN at the meeting on 12th June. The paper and the minutes from the meeting are available on the SACN website:

You will note from the papers that SACN have recommended that iodine nutrition be monitored more closely. In order to generate nationally representative data on the populations iodine status, the Department intends to collect spot urine samples via the National Diet and Nutrition Survey2(NDNS) from April 2013. Initial data on urinary iodine concentrations for adults and children would be available in 2016. This data would help SACN formulate evidence-led recommendations for public health policy and proposals for future research.

3 I have forwarded this part of your query to colleagues in the Department of Health, who will be best placed to answer your question. You may be interested in the current DH consultation on the arrangements for consideration of proposals on the fluoridation of drinking water, link below:


1. Vanderpump MPJ, Lazarus JH, Smyth PP, Laurberg P, Holder RL, Boelaert K, Franklyn JA (2011) Iodine status of UK schoolgirls: a cross-sectional survey. Lancet. 377; 9732. 2007-12
2. The NDNS is a continuous cross-sectional survey, designed to assess the diet, nutrient intake and nutritional status of the general population aged 18 months upwards living in private households in the UK

Best wishes,


Michael Griffin
SACN Secretariat

To be notified of any updates with regard to the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), please sign up to our email alert system via the following link:

From Dr M to DoH.


1. When I was last interested in the the Dept of Health deliberations on the national diet, there was a Coma committee.

Has the SACN replaced the Coma committee?

2. There has been recent research pointing to Iodine deiciency in the majority of teenage girls in the UK.

What steps are being taken to counter this?

3. Water fluoridation has been/is being abandoned in many locations world-wide. It may be deduced that its introduction was (At least) a mistake in the first place. Taking that into account and taking into account continuing public exposure to fluoride (e.g. Tooth paste & mouth washes) and other non-iodine halogens, what advice is the committee giving about this continuing exposure?

Thank you for giving this your attention,



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