National Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) Eradication Programme
In the National Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) Eradication Programme of the Ministry of Health, the Nutrition Unit serves as the central laboratory that prepares and supplies test kits for iodine detection and semi-quantitative measurement in water and salt. A total of about 4000-5000 test kits are distributed to health centres all over the country annually for use in monitoring the IDD programme. Iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism and goitre. In children, will result in growth and mental retardation.
Urine Iodine Micro-method modified by Nutrition Unit is currently being used in all MOH Urine Iodine Laboratories and IMR acting as the reference laboratory provides technical advisory and coordinates participation of the laboratories in the External Quality Assurance Programme.
Updates of Malaysian Food Composition Database
A project is being conducted by Nutrition Unit on updating Malaysian Food Composition Database. In this project, Nutrition Unit collaborates with Institut Kesihatan Umum (IKU), Jabatan Kimia Malaysia (JKM), Makmal Kesihatan Awam Kebangsaan and Lembaga Kelapa Sawit Malaysia (MPOB). The research focuses on analyzing new raw and processed foods available in food list. Around 30 nutrients will be analysed and an in-house designed software will be developed for the nutrients data to be used by the user later on.
Food Biogenic Amines Project
A research on biogenic amines in food is on-going in the unit in order to answer the food safety related issues. They have been implicated in food poisoning outbreaks exerting allergy-like symptoms. Improved method of screening the presence of their microbial producers had been developed and the biomedical aspect of the biogenic amines effect to the human body is currently being studied in vitro using various cell lines.
Local Malaysian seaweeds are being studied as part of Nutrition Unit project for staff development in Master programme with Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). Selected Malaysian seaweeds will be analysed for its nutritional values and further studies will be conducted to identify functional food properties in seaweeds for in-vitro lipase and amylase enzyme inhibitory activities