EFSA Approves Iodine Claim for Infant Development

The agency agrees that iodine deficiency at an early age can lead to cognitive problems.

In response to a petition from the European trade association Specialised Nutrition Europe (Brussels), EFSA is approving a health claim for iodine and normal cognitive development in children 1 to 3 years of age.

EFSA’s approved claim will be applicable to all follow-on formula, nutritionally complete foods, and processed cereal foods that meet other existing criteria for the intended population of infants and young children. The health claim will read,"Iodine contributes to normal cognitive development."

Because a sufficient amount of evidence already exists in support of iodine for normal cognitive function in the general population-a previously approved health claim-EFSA’s decision to extend iodine’s nutritional standing to infants and children was not a difficult one. Specialised Nutrition Europe provided extra iodine science specific to young children, suggesting that iodine deficiency can, in some cases, lead to mental retardation and impaired growth.

Iodine is found in high amounts in sea vegetables, yogurt, milk, and strawberries. The established tolerable upper intake level for iodine in children, established previously, is 200 µg/day.