What in the World Are Sulfites?

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July 30, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter

Sulfites are chemical additives that are added to many products to extend shelf life in fruits and vegetables, half the growth of bacteria in wines, whiten food starches and condition dough, and sometimes used as preservatives in new medication.

 

  • So What’s the Problem?

-Although technically sulfites are currently considered GRAS (genetically recognized as safe), they are now being looked at more carefully after being linked to numerous health problems including allergic reactions ranging from hives to anaphylactic shock.

-According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates, about 1 out of
every 100 individuals has allergic symptoms after exposure to sulfites.

-Those with asthma are especially prone: sulfites cause serious symptoms in about 5% of people with asthma.

 

  • What’s Being Done?

-The FDA has imposed regulations on the use of sulfites including a ban on fruits and vegetables intended to be eaten raw, such as in supermarket produce departments or restaurant salad bars.

-Product labels must list sulfites in concentrations of 10 ppm (parts per million) or higher, or any sulfites that have been used in processing, regardless of the concentration. In addition, labels must specify the purpose for which sulfites were used.

 

  • What Can We Do?

-Due to the recent regulation for the food industry to indicate the use of a sulfite in a product, paying attention to food labels is the best way to be aware.

-Since sulfites are still considered GRAS, it has not been recommended to completely avoid products that contain them, however it is important to be weary if asthma is a current condition, or your child tends to be sensitive to additives.

-If you suspect that exposure to sulfites has triggered hives, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms in your child, call your pediatrician to determine whether a sensitivity is present.

 

 

Source: healthychildren.org

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Authors

Dr. Wali Gauvin

Kendra Fink RD CPT

Jessica Griffin: Intern

Julianna Yi: Intern

Marielle Mangano: Intern

Jackie Page: Intern

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