Statement on iodine in cows' milk (Jan 2000)

The COT was asked to advise on the results of a survey carried out for the Joint Food Safety & Standards Group in 1998/1999.

The Committee's recommendations are:

1. The revised dietary intakes estimated from the results of this survey support our conclusions of September 1997 that monitoring of iodine concentrations in cows' milk should continue;

2. We have been informed that the UK Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals will be reviewing the toxicity of iodine in due course and we may wish to reconsider these survey results in the light of the findings of that group;

3. The revised dietary intakes increase the need for data on the different chemical forms of iodine in cows' milk and infant formulas and on the bioavailability of the iodine in iodophors. We therefore request that we see the results on the studies on the different chemical forms of iodine in cows' milk and infant formulas at the earliest opportunity and we reiterate our previous recommendation that the bioavailability of the iodine in iodophors is investigated.

The Committee concluded:

We have made a number of recommendations, including investigation of the bioavailability of iodine from iodophors in milk. However, we conclude that the new data from this latest survey do not alter our previous advice that the concentrations of iodine in cows' milk are unlikely to pose a risk to health, even in those children who are high level consumers.

The Food Surveillance Information Sheet containing the survey results is available.