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Geographical and seasonal variation in Iodine content of cow’s milk in the UK and consequences for the consumer´s supply

Coneyworth, Lisa J.; Welham, Simon J.M.; Coulthard, Lauren C.H.A.; Bailey, Elizabeth H.; Young, Scott D.; Stubberfield, Jonathan; Parsons, Louise; Saunders, Neil; Watson, Eamon; Homer, Elizabeth M.


Lauren C.H.A. Coulthard

Associate Professor

Scott D. Young

Jonathan Stubberfield

Louise Parsons

Neil Saunders

Eamon Watson

Elizabeth M. Homer


Background. Dairy products provide a crucial source of dietary iodine for the majority of the UK population, contributing approximately 30-40 % of daily intake. Fluctuations in the iodine content of purchased milk both seasonally and annually implies potential fragility of iodine supply likely through fluctuating supplementation practices in cow herds. We set out to establish the level of national variation in herds and identify factors which might impact milk iodine content.

Methods. Milk samples were obtained from 98 herds across the UK via the National Milk Laboratories in August and December 2016. Iodine concentration of samples was measured using ICP-MS. Milk samples and feed intake data were additionally taken from 22 cows from the University of Nottingham (UON) dairy herd.

Results. There was considerable variation in milk iodine content from < 0.012 (Limit of Detection) to 1558 µg L-1, with a summer median of 197 µg L-1 and winter median 297 µg L-1. Overall, winter values were higher than summer counterparts (P


Coneyworth, L. J., Welham, S. J., Coulthard, L. C., Bailey, E. H., Young, S. D., Stubberfield, J., …Homer, E. M. (2020). Geographical and seasonal variation in Iodine content of cow’s milk in the UK and consequences for the consumer´s supply. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 59, Article 126453.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 9, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 10, 2020
Publication Date May 1, 2020
Deposit Date Jan 10, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jan 11, 2021
Journal Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
Print ISSN 0946-672X
Electronic ISSN 1878-3252
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 59
Article Number 126453
Keywords Inorganic Chemistry; Molecular Medicine; Biochemistry
Public URL
Publisher URL


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