Sulphur dioxide is a part of the sulphite family, it is a preservative and even a small amount of sulphite can wreak health havoc if you’re sensitive to it.
Sulphur additives are recognized as unsafe in larger quantities and in many countries they have been banned in raw fruit and vegetables.
Which foods contain this additive?
Along-with dried fruit, foods such as wine, tea, juices, beer, hard cider, baked goods, molasses, gravy, condiments, dried soup mix, jam, pre-cut potatoes and shrimp may all contain sulphur dioxide.
Dried fruits are among the foods highest in sulphites, with raisins and prunes containing between 500 and 2,000 parts per million, according to Dr Gregory Möller of the University of Iowa.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandates that foods containing more than 10 parts per million of sulphites must list this information on the food label.
It is very important to carefully read the nutrition labels on processed foods and avoid any that contain this food additive.
Why is it added to food?
Sulphur dioxide, not only help prevent foods from becoming discoloured, they also discourage the growth of bacteria. Additionally, they can soften dough or bleach foods.
What are the hazardous side effects of it?
Preservatives that are found to contain sulphur dioxide used in wine and dried fruit, can trigger asthma attacks. Other reactions include bronchial problems, low blood pressure, and anaphylactic shock.
The 2005 national diet survey found that young children who eat lots of foods that contain sulphites, such as dried apricots, sausages and cordial, could be exceeding the ADI for sulphites.
Sulphur dioxide may cause allergic reactions can be relatively mild, such as hives, or more severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing and potentially fatal anaphylactic shock.
The University of Florida Extension says that when digesting foods with Sulphites, the stomach may produce sulphur dioxide, and inhaling this gas causes adverse effects.