If you’ve eaten dried fruit, you’ve most likely consumed SULFUR DIOXIDE. It’s more common than not that dried fruits contain this sulfite to prevent it from spoilage, molding, browning, and to obtain the overall “nice looking appeal” of the fruit.
So is it safe?
In 1986, the FDA banned sulfites and sulfur dioxide from being used in fresh produce because it caused health issues in people with asthma. But oddly enough it’s still allowed to be used in non-fresh fruits and vegetables (dried fruit being one of them) and many processed meats.
“The amount of sulphur dioxide in foods is limited by regulation in the UK, by directive in the EEC, and by recommendations to ‘good manufacturing practice’ in the USA.” – source
People with asthma should certainly stay away from sulfites as it can cause asthma-like symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty breathing. Only about 1% of Americans have sulfite sensitivity, between 5% and 10% of asthmatics may react to sulfites. And even if you’re a fairly healthy person you may want to think twice about it. Why?
Though Sulfur Dioxide may not cause any noticeable side effects in the average person, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any!
Another name for Sulfur Dioxide is Sodium Bisulfite. To quote the NJ Health Hazardous Facts Sheet:
“Sodium Bisulfite is a white, crystalline solid with a slight odor of rotten eggs. It is often in a liquid solution. It is used in making paper and leather, as a food preservative and in dye and chemical production.”
This study published in the journal Public Library of Science found that this preservative stops the growth of good gut bacteria! Which makes sense if it’s being used to stop the growth of bacteria on food, right?
Other side effects can be headaches, hives, itchy skin or skin issues.
Bottom line, if a food needs a preservative to stay “good” you don’t want it. I personally want my food to eventually go bad! It’s natural.
FOODS SULFUR DIOXIDE IS COMMONLY FOUND IN:
– Dried fruits
– Deli meats / hot dogs
– Frozen pantry dough
– Alcoholic beverages
SULFUR DIOXIDE FREE ALTERNATIVES:
– Terrasole unsulfured sun-dried apricots
– Berrilys Organic Dried Unsulfured No Added Sugar Tart Cherries
– True Story Foods Organic Oven Roasted Turkey Breast Deli Meat