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Sulphites and sulphite sensitivity

One group of additives that finds their way into our food are the preservatives known as sulfites. They are very useful to the food industry, in that they are spectacularly successful in keeping colors from degrading, especially in dried fruit, the lovely orange colored dried apricots we find in supermakets would have a totally different appearance if they hadn't been gassed with sulphur dioxide; they would be an unappealing dull shade of brown. Unfortunately the treatment also diminishes the vitamin content and disrupts enzyme processes, so once again we are the victims of a deception by the marketers of food and beverage products.

Another negative is that some people have a sensitivity to the chemicals, they develop a shortage of breath and develop a cough. Some people with an acute sensitivity have indeed died as a result of exposure to food treated this way. The practice which caused the fatalities was the spraying of vegetables and salads in restaurants and supermarkets while on display. Look at the labels. a good test to see if you are one of those  who are sensitive is to eat three or four of the brightly coloured apricots, if you are coughing within 10 to15 minutes then you should avoid all sulphite  containing foods. The treated apricots can have as much as one gramme per kilogramme of sulphur dioxide.

Do sulphites cause headaches? Well probably not, is the conclusion of the majority of researchers who have studied the subject. Drinking wine can result in dehydration, which could be the culprit, no one in a test group consisting of people who compained of headaches after drinking, wine developed problems after eating treated apricots.

Commonly used sulphites:- E227 Calcium hydrogen sulfite, E228 Potassium bisulfite, E224 Potassium metabisulfite, E225 Potassium sulfite, E222 Sodium hydrogen sulfite, E223 Sodium metabisulfite, E221 Sodium sulfite, E539 Sodium thiosulfate. E220,Sulfur dioxide.

Links:

http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v21je15.htm

Lilias Sauvage

Note: The author has used the international spelling of sulphites.


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