Sulphites — can severely aggravate asthma in sensitive people. Besides it can cause stomach problems, blurred vision, dizziness, irregular breathing, breathlessness and nervous irritability. Also drastically reduces Vitamin B1 levels in people whose diet is deficient in vitamins.

Sulphur dioxide — linked to mutations and cancer.

> Sodium sulphite (E221)
> Sodium bisulphite (E222)
> Sodium metabisulphite (E223)
> Potassium metabisulphite (E224)
> Potassium sulphite (E225)
> Calcium sulphite (E226)
> Calcium hydrogen sulphite (E227)
> Potassium bisulphate (E228)
> Sulphur dioxide (E220)

Sulphites prevent vegetables and fruit (including dried fruit like apricots) from going brown after they have been peeled, and keep vegetables looking fresh even if they are old and stale.

Sulphites are often used on French fries in fast-food outlets and restaurants to stop them going brown after the potatoes have been peeled.

The wine industry uses sulphites to stop wine turning to vinegar and to preserve its colour.

Sulphur dioxide is a gas that is formed when sulphur burns. It also occurs naturally. It dissolves in water to form sulphurous acid. The acid forms a series of salts called sulphites and metabisulphites, which are used as food preservatives.

Dried fruit slices can be kept standing for hours in a sulphite solution until the sulphur dioxide has completely penetrated the slices.

Grapes are often fumigated with sulphur dioxide to prevent fungal growth. Sulphites are also used to prevent yeast and bacterial growth in food and to stop oils and fats from turning rancid, thus extending their shelf life.

They are also used as a colour preservative in seafood such as shrimp and lobster.

Their other uses are as a bleaching agent to bleach flour and food starches and as a steriliser of equipment and food containers in food factories and breweries. Sodium metabisulphite (a white powder used for sterilising bottles) carries a warning label that it is “harmful if ingested, call your doctor, keep out of reach of children”.

Because they are used in so many foods, it is easy to consume large amounts of sulphites.

Excerpted from CAP GUIDE: Avoid Chemicals in your Food
Available here:…/avoid-chemicals-in-your-food/