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Sulfite Allergy/Sensitivity Information: List of foods containing sulfites & the PPM page 1
Sulfite Allergy/Sensitivity Information
McCobbre
Moderator


Posted: Oct 5th, 2007 at 03:36 pm

I have a sulfite allergy (though I don't think it's called a true allergy since there are no proteins involved).

Here is some information about the degree to which sulfites are contained in certain foods. I hope this is helpful:

From http://allergies.about.com/od/foodallergies/a/sulfites.htm
Why are Sulfites Added to Foods?
Sulfites are added to foods for various reasons. These include:
  • Reduction of spoilage by bacteria
  • Slows the browning of fruit, vegetables and seafood
  • Inhibits of growth of bacteria during fermentation of wines
  • Conditioning of dough in frozen pie and pizza crust
  • Bleaching effect for maraschino cherries and hominy

    In the past, sulfites were added to fresh foods in restaurants and grocery stores to prevent browning. An increase in reactions led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the use of sulfites in fresh foods in 1986, particularly on fresh lettuce in salad bars. The FDA now requires that any food containing more than 10 parts per million (ppm) concentration of sulfites to be declared on the label. Foods that contain less than 10 ppm of sulfites have not been shown to cause symptoms, even in people allergic to sulfites.

    Which Foods Contain Sulfites?

    Greater than 100 ppm of sulfites (very high levels, strict avoidance advised in people with sulfite allergy)
  • dried fruits (excluding dark raisins and
  • prunes)
  • bottled lemon juice (non-frozen)
  • bottled lime juice (non-frozen)
  • wine
  • molasses
  • sauerkraut (and its juice)
  • grape juices (white, white sparkling, pink
  • sparkling, red sparkling)
  • pickled cocktail onions

    Between 50 and 99.9 ppm of sulfites (moderate to high levels of sulfite, avoidance advised in people with sulfite allergy)
  • dried potatoes
  • wine vinegar
  • gravies/sauces
  • fruit toppings
  • Maraschino cherries

    Between 10 and 49.9 ppm of sulfites (low to moderate levels of sulfite, may cause symptoms in people with severe sulfite allergy)
  • pectin
  • fresh shrimp
  • corn syrup
  • pickled peppers
  • pickles/relish
  • corn starch
  • hominy
  • frozen potatoes
  • maple syrup
  • imported jams and jellies
  • fresh mushrooms
  • imported sausages and meats
  • cordials (alcoholic)
  • dehydrated vegetables
  • various cheeses
  • corn bread/muffin mix
  • canned/jarred clams
  • clam chowder
  • avocado dip/guacamole
  • imported fruit juices and soft drinks
  • ciders and cider vinegars

    Less than 10 ppm of sulfites (very low sulfite levels, generally do not pose a risk, even for people with sulfite allergy)
  • malt vinegar
  • canned potatoes
  • beer
  • dry soup mix
  • soft drinks
  • frozen pizza and pie dough
  • beet sugar
  • gelatin
  • coconut
  • fresh fruit salad
  • domestic jams and jellies
  • crackers
  • cookies
  • grapes
  • high fructose corn syrup

    Why are Sulfites Added to Medications?
    Sulfites are added to some medications for their antioxidant properties as well as the prevention of browning of medications. Sulfites are added to injectable epinephrine (such as in the Epi-Pen) to prevent browning, which decreases the effectiveness of the drug. However, epinephrine has not been reported to cause adverse reactions in people with sulfite allergy, and should not be withheld in an allergic emergency. Injectable epinephrine may prove life saving in people with sulfite allergy experiencing anaphylaxis.
    Some inhaler solutions used to treat asthma contain

    Last Edited by McCobbre Nov 20th, 2008 at 08:39 pm

  • "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. They are potent forms of enchantment, rich with the power to hurt or heal."~Albus Dumbledore



    Me: shellfish, chamomile, sesame and a few odds & ends
    DS: peanuts
    McCobbre
    Moderator


    Post Icon Posted: Oct 5th, 2007 at 03:40 pm

    Here's more information that I found helpful and a link to the website where I found it:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_3960_live-with-allergy.html

    Introduction
    Sulfites have been used for centuries as a preservative in wine, and now are used in a variety of other foods to control spoilage, prevent light-colored fruit and vegetables from turning brown, bleach food starches, condition dough and so on. If you're sensitive to sulfites, you need to read labels carefully and ask if you're unsure.

    Instructions
    Difficulty: Moderately challenging

    Steps

    1.Step One
    Avoid products containing sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, sodium and potassium bisulfite, sodium and potassium metabisulfite.

    2.Step Two
    Check the label carefully if buying dried fruit. It's often preserved with sulfites. Buy dried fruit that's naturally sun-dried instead.

    3.Step Three
    Take care when buying processed foods. Many condiments, canned vegetables, soup mixes and baked goods are processed with sulfites.

    4.Step Four
    Check with the manufacturer before drinking any wine or beer. They may contain sulfites even if it's not on the label.

    5. Step Five
    Ask when you're dining out. Be especially wary of salad bars and potato products.

    6.Step Six
    Ask the store manager before buying loose bulk foods. They may contain sulfites.

    7.Step Seven
    Buy organic fruits and vegetables, or buy from a store where you know the produce is free of sulfites.

    8. Step Eight
    Minimize your intake of canned foods and convenience foods. Eat fresh, unprocessed foods whenever possible.

    9. Step Nine
    Carry your inhaler with you when eating out if you have asthma. Asthmatics tend to be more susceptible to sulfite allergy.

    "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. They are potent forms of enchantment, rich with the power to hurt or heal."~Albus Dumbledore



    Me: shellfish, chamomile, sesame and a few odds & ends
    DS: peanuts
    Daisy
    Member


    Posted: Oct 9th, 2007 at 09:23 pm

    Haircolor! If you are sulfite-"allergic" watch out. There is a reason you are supposed to patch test each & every time. This gave me full-blown scalp hives & sent me to the ER with breathing problems. (For any of you that don't know my history, I almost never get hives.)

    I have only found one haircolor product that does not contain sulfite. It is actually made nearby, but I am a great big chicken! Kind of getting used to my skunk stripes. At least the gray is coming in a nice silver!

    http://www.ecocolors.net/ They will send you a patch test if you send them a SASE. They have a full ingredient listing on the website.

    A couple of folks also use henna...just be careful of your source & make sure it's safe for your allergies, and free from heavy metals.

    Take care,
    Daisy

    Self: seafood, egg, nuts, sulfites, yellow dye, IV contrast
    GA - USA
    McCobbre
    Moderator


    Posted: Nov 5th, 2007 at 02:48 pm

    Reraising for folks who've posted in OT sulfite thread.

    "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. They are potent forms of enchantment, rich with the power to hurt or heal."~Albus Dumbledore



    Me: shellfish, chamomile, sesame and a few odds & ends
    DS: peanuts
    Daisy
    Member


    Posted: Nov 5th, 2007 at 07:55 pm

    And adding that sulfite "allergy" is not an allergy, as McCobbre pointed out...it is a sensitivity, but many that have reactions to sulfites can have anaphylactoid reactions. This means "like anaphylaxis." Same symptoms = same treatment. Just mediated by a different system.

    I have ended up the the ER several times from sulfites, and IV contrast (well, I was already there...). Both were anaphyactoid reactions.

    Daisy

    Self: seafood, egg, nuts, sulfites, yellow dye, IV contrast
    GA - USA
    Daisy
    Member


    Posted: Nov 18th, 2007 at 08:23 pm

    This is one of my favorite resources for sulfites. He has sulfite-induced migraines, but goes into all the different type of reactions and the chemistry behind the reactions in plain English.

    http://members.aol.com/nosulfites/index.htm

    He has written a short web-book, entitled Headaches, Asthma, Fries and a Cola . Worth the read if you have the time.

    Daisy

    Self: seafood, egg, nuts, sulfites, yellow dye, IV contrast
    GA - USA
    Daisy
    Member


    Posted: Nov 19th, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Alert for Thanksgiving for the sulfite sensitive...

    Frozen pie crusts...Even if the pie is homemade, the crust might not be! I went searching for a quick pie crust 2 years ago. DD wanted to make a pumpkin pie. I can't have the lovely Pillsbury Ready Crust because of yellow coloring. After searching 4 major grocery chains in our very large metro city, I gave up & fixed a crust from scratch. Yes, I know I could have made it anyway in the time I spent shopping. :Smiley

    And pickled things that folks like to set out at this time of year for nibbles. This includes pepperocini on Greek salads, and pepper sauce used on collard greens.

    Take care,
    Daisy

    Self: seafood, egg, nuts, sulfites, yellow dye, IV contrast
    GA - USA
    McCobbre
    Moderator


    Posted: Nov 23rd, 2007 at 11:05 am

    DH spent some time researching a wine that has lower sulfites than others. It's a French red wine, which automatically means it has fewer sulfites, but this vintner doesn't add any additional. It's organic, too, and it's one some awards. I enjoyed it okay but moreso thinking I wouldn't be feeling bad afterward. And I didn't. Smiley

    Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux de Provence

    We had this one:

    http://www.gourgonnier.com/index2.php?show=shop1&id=5&category=3

    Last Edited by McCobbre Nov 23rd, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. They are potent forms of enchantment, rich with the power to hurt or heal."~Albus Dumbledore



    Me: shellfish, chamomile, sesame and a few odds & ends
    DS: peanuts
    McCobbre
    Moderator


    Posted: Feb 28th, 2008 at 10:57 am

    I found some other info about sulfites--was looking while having a reaction Sunday night (I was desperately trying to determine whether Benadryl is effective--after I'd taken some, of course).

    I'll post some things here and in my sulfite reactions thread.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1370/is_v19/ai_4042636
    Quote:
    "Sulfite" is actually a term that is applied to a variety of sulfur-based substances. They include sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, sodium and potassium bisulfite, and sodium and potassium metabisulfite.

    Besides acting as preservatives or antioxidants, sulfites also have many other permitted uses. For example, sulfur dioxide is used as a bleaching agent for food starches; sodium metabisulfite and sodium sulfite are used with other ingredients to prevent rust and scaling in boiler water used in making steam that will contact food; sodium sulfite and sodium metabisulfite are used in the production of cellophane for food packing; potassium metabisulfite, sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, and sulfur dioxide are used as sterilizing agents in wine-making.

    In effect, use of sulfiting agents is widespread and diverse, and suitable substitutes are not readily available to cover all uses. As FDA Commissioner Frank E.Young, M.D., testified before a Congressional subcommittee last March: "The problem is compounded by the fact that sulfites in foods have recognized benefits for which there are no good substitutes. . . . The extent to which suitable substitutes in foods are available is not entirely clear. The relevant industries have indicated, however, that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace the use of sulfites in shrimp, dried fruit, and corn syrup, for example."

    ...Although two industry trade groups, the National Restaurant Association and the Produce Marketing Association, have been successful in recent years in getting many of their members to voluntarily curtail sulfite use, FDA concurred with FASEB that voluntary steps alone were not enough. That lead to two regulations proposed by FDA in 1985.

    On April 3, 1985, the agency proposed a regulation that would require the food industry to declare the presence of sulfites on product labels if the sulfite level in a finished food amounts to 10 or more parts per million. The regulation would greatly increase the number of food products required to have sulfite labeling.



    "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. They are potent forms of enchantment, rich with the power to hurt or heal."~Albus Dumbledore



    Me: shellfish, chamomile, sesame and a few odds & ends
    DS: peanuts
    McCobbre
    Moderator


    Posted: Feb 28th, 2008 at 11:07 am

    This website was helpful overall with allergies. It has a page describing Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein that's worth looking at.

    http://www.babyandkidallergies.com/sulfites.php

    Quote:

    Sulfites are a sulphurous acid (including sulfur dioxide) that have been used for over 2,000 years in food and drink processing. Sulfites are primarily used as preservatives, sanitary agents and food color preservatives. They are also used to bleach foods like corn and potatoes, in pharmaceuticals and are often sprayed on grapes that are used for wine. Many foods you typically find in salad bars have been processed with sulfites. Twenty years ago the Food and Drug Administration noted that 1% of the United States were allergic to sulfites, and required wine labels to place warning labels on bottles that contain sulfites.

    The FDA has estimated that 1 in 100 individuals in the United States are sensitive to sulfites, and that up to 5% of these people are sulfite allergic. Reactions can range from mild rashes, headaches and cramping to life threatening reactions such as anaphylactic shock. People with asthma, previous allergies, or a deficiency of the liver enzyme sulfite oxidase react the most to sulfites. Asthmatics are especially susceptible, and should carry their inhalers and epipens with them when dining outside the home. Sulfite reactions have killed at least 13 people in the United States alone.

    Be careful to read labels, looking for ingredients that may contain sulfites. By law, the manufacturer must place a sulfite warning label on the product ONLY if it contains 10 parts sulfite per million or greater.

    The following foods can possibly contain sulfites:
  • guacamole
  • grapes
  • wine
  • coleslaw
  • mushrooms (fresh or canned)
  • potatoes
  • corn
  • frozen foods such as vegetables and fruits
  • salad bar items
  • canned seafoods
  • dried fish
  • fresh shellfish such as shrimp
  • any dried seafood
  • fresh seafoods
  • beet sugars
  • breading mix
  • cereals
  • brown sugar
  • canned fruit pie fillings
  • syrups (corn maple pancake)
  • cornstarch
  • diet foods
  • soups (dry or canned)
  • salad dressing mixes
  • horseradish
  • glazed fruit
  • fruit (canned fresh dried)
  • frozen potato products (fries tots hashbrowns)
  • hard candy
  • caramels
  • jams/jellies
  • maraschino cherries
  • dried noodle and rice mixtures
  • olives
  • relishes
  • pickled items
  • chips
  • sauces and gravies
  • sauerkraut
  • processed coconut
  • trail and granola mixes
  • vinegars
  • lemon and lime juices (bottled)
  • ciders
  • beer
  • wine
  • fruit juices
  • cocktail mixes
  • colas cornmeal
  • instant drink and tea mixes
  • frozen dough and cookie mixes
  • gelatin
  • frozen bread products with dough conditioners
  • beverages containing corn syrup
  • frosting
  • fresh vegetables
  • tomatoes
  • baby formula
  • sausages
  • processed meats
  • textured vegetable protein
  • pectin


  • "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. They are potent forms of enchantment, rich with the power to hurt or heal."~Albus Dumbledore



    Me: shellfish, chamomile, sesame and a few odds & ends
    DS: peanuts
    McCobbre
    Moderator


    Posted: Feb 28th, 2008 at 11:09 am


    From the same website:
    http://www.babyandkidallergies.com/avoiding-sulfites.php

    Quote:
    It is unfortunate that sulfites can be found almost anywhere today. If you are avoiding sulfites in your diet, there are a few things you can do to help keep them at bay:

    If you are allergic to sulfites, do not eat out. If this is unavoidable, bring your Epi-Pen. Explain to the chef that you cannot have sulfites, and ask for a meal prepared with only natural foods.

    All processed foods carry the possibility of containing sulfites. Avoid canned and processed foods.

    Cook with organic, natural foods as much as possible.

    Remember, any type of condiment you buy probably contains sulfites.

    Dried fruit may contain sulfites. If you are purchasing sun-dried fruits, read the label carefully.

    Remember that wine and beer may contain sulfites. The label may not indicate the presence of sulfites.

    If you are intolerant or allergic to sulfites, an antihistamine may help if you have an accidental portion. Again, if you are severely allergic, carry your Epi-Pen with you at all times.

    If you are going to get a flu shot or any other form of injection, ask if the medication or vitamin is preserved with sulfites. Many are.

    Pepsid AC may help to stop a mild sulfite reaction after sulfite injestion

    Drink lots of water if you feel you are having a mild reaction to sulfites.


    "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. They are potent forms of enchantment, rich with the power to hurt or heal."~Albus Dumbledore



    Me: shellfish, chamomile, sesame and a few odds & ends
    DS: peanuts
    McCobbre
    Moderator


    Posted: Feb 28th, 2008 at 11:14 am

    http://www.allergycapital.com.au/Pages/sulphites.html

    Quote:
    Allergic Reactions to Sulfites (sulphite allergy)
    Used since Roman times, sulfites are compounds used to preservative some drinks, foods and medication. They preserve flavour and colour of food, inhibit bacterial growth, reduce spoilage, stop fresh food from spotting and turning brown, help preserve medication and increase shelf life.


    How do they work?
    Sulfites release sulphur dioxide, which is the active component that helps preserve food and medication.

    Asthmatic reactions are the most common adverse effect
    The most common adverse reaction with exposure to sulfites, is that of asthma like symptoms, estimated to occur in 5 to 10% of patients with asthma. These symptoms are more likely to occur in patients with severe asthma, or those in whom asthma is poorly controlled. Reactions can be mild through to life-threatening.

    Anaphylactic reactions are much less common
    Occasional patients exposed to sulfites, will experienced symptoms similar to anaphylaxis with flushing, fast heartbeat, wheezing, hives, dizziness, stomach upset and diarrhoea, collapse, tingling or difficulty swallowing.

    The mechanism by which reactions occur is unclear
    The mechanism by which some people react to sulfites another don't, is not clear. sulphur dioxide is an irritant, and so reflex contraction of the airways has been proposed as one possible reason why asthma like responses may occur. This mechanism may be particularly important when sulfites are ingested in the form of liquid like beer or wine, when sulphur dioxide given off by the liquid inhaled during the swallowing process. Some asthma patients reacting to sulfites, have a partial enzyme deficiency (sulfite oxidase) that can help break down sulphur dioxide. Occasional patients (but not many) will have positive skin allergy tests to sulfites as well, and so true allergic reactions to sulfites may also occur in some people.

    Diagnosis of suspected sulfite sensitivity

  • History -- the possibility of adverse reaction to sulfites, can be suspected when symptoms occur after potential sources of exposure to these substances.

  • Allergy tests -- the vast majority of people with sulfites sensitivity, will not have positive allergy tests. There is currently no reliable blood or skin allergy test for these patients.

  • Challenge -- at times, it may be important to do a deliberate challenge with sulfites in a graded fashion under medical supervision, in patients with suspected sulfites sensitivity. These challenges may be performed to prove or disprove sensitivity.



  • (continued below)

    "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. They are potent forms of enchantment, rich with the power to hurt or heal."~Albus Dumbledore



    Me: shellfish, chamomile, sesame and a few odds & ends
    DS: peanuts
    McCobbre
    Moderator


    Posted: Feb 28th, 2008 at 11:18 am


    Quote:
    Potential sources of dietary exposure to sulfites
    Sulfites have a useful role to play in helping preserve many foods and beverages. The addition of sulfites to some foods like beer and wine is permitted in most countries. In many countries, it is illegal to add these to foods like fresh salads or fruit salads, or to meats like mincemeat. Unfortunately, these can be added from time to time illegally. The following is a list of the most common sources of accidental exposure to sulfites.

    Drinks -- cordials and some fruit juices as well as beer and wine. Occasionally soft drinks. Instant tea.

    Other liquids -- commercial preparations of lemon and lime juice, vinegar, grape juice.

    Commercial foods -- dry potatoes, some gravies and sauces and fruit toppings, maraschino cherries, pickled onions, Maple syrup, jams, jellies, some biscuits and bread or pie or pizza dough
    Fruit -- dried apricots, and sometimes grapes will be transported with sachets of the sulfite containing preservative. Dryness of tightness do not normally contain sulfites.

    Salads and fruit salads -- sometimes restaurant salads and fruit salads will have sulfites added to preserve their colour.

    Crustaceans -- sulphur powder is sometimes added over the top of crustaceans to stop them this colouring.

    Meat -- sulfites are sometimes added illegally to mincemeat or sausage meat.

    Other foods -- gelatin, coconut

    ...

    Low /no sulfite wines
    As a rule, sulfites are found at higher levels in the cask wine than bottled wine, and are at much higher concentrations in white wine than red wine, when natural tannins help preserve the beverage.

    Some winemakers in Australia produce wines and state that they do not add sulfites into the wine. There are various technical reasons related to winemaking why very low levels of sulfites might still be present, even when not added to the wine itself. The author has not personally verified the claims of being preservative free. Those interested should make inquiries of the winemaker. The following Australian winemakers produce low / no sulfite wines. This listing is for information purposes only, is not exhaustive, should not be interpreted as a recommendation, and no payment of any kind has been received by the author for this listing.

  • Happs (Margaret River, Western Australia) Tel 08-8562 2598 http://www.happs.com.au
  • Botobolar (Mudgee, New South Wales) Tel 02-6373 3840
  • Macaw's Creek (Riverton, South Australia) Tel 08-8847 2237 http://www.macawcreekwines.com.au
  • Hardy's "No added preservative wines" tel 1800 088 711 http://www.hardys.com.au
  • Organic Wines Australia listings http://www.organicwine.com.au

    Low / no sulfite beers
    Some brewers produce beer and state that they do not add sulfites. There are various technical reasons why very low levels of sulfites might still be present, even when not added to the product itself. The author has not personally verified the claims of being preservative free. Those interested should make inquiries of the brewery. The following brewers claim to produce low / no sulfite beers. This listing is for information purposes only, is not exhaustive, should not be interpreted as a recommendation, and no payment of any kind has been received by the author for this listing.

  • Coopers (Australia) Tel 08 8440 180 http://www.coopers.com.au
  • Holsten Premium Beer (from UK) Tel 02- 02 9722 1200
  • Select Organics Listing http://www.selectorganics.com.au


  • "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. They are potent forms of enchantment, rich with the power to hurt or heal."~Albus Dumbledore



    Me: shellfish, chamomile, sesame and a few odds & ends
    DS: peanuts
    McCobbre
    Moderator


    Posted: Feb 28th, 2008 at 11:19 am

    (continued from above)

    Quote:
    Sulfites are also used in some medications
  • Topical -- some eyedrops and creams will contain sulfites.

  • Oral medication -- to the knowledge of this author, no adverse reactions to sulfites have occurred from swallowed medication that might have been contaminated with sulfites.

  • Injectable medication -- this is the most likely source of exposure. Adrenaline (epinephrine), isoprenaline, phenylephrine, dexamethasone and some other injectable corticosteroids, dopamine, local anaesthetics/dental anaesthetics containing adrenaline, some anaesthetic agents (eg. propofol) and aminoglycoside antibiotics are the most common potential sources of exposure. It should be noted however, that even in patients with sulfite sensitivity, it is generally considered that adrenaline should not be withheld if needed, as the benefit of adrenaline is considered to outweigh any theoretical risk from sulfites sensitivity in an emergency situation.

    Management of sulfite sensitivity
  • Time -- there is no evidence that sulfites sensitivity reduces with time

  • Avoidance -- this is the mainstay of management. Commercial test strips to test food for the presence of sulfites are available in some other countries, but to the knowledge of the author, not in Australia. These are also not 100% reliable.

  • Switching off the sensitivity -- there is no proven way of desensitisation or immunotherapy to reduce the severity of sulfites sensitivity.

  • Emergency action plan -- those with relatively mild reactions like mild wheezing, should carry their asthma puffers when eating away from home. Those with more serious reactions akin to anaphylaxis, are managed along the same lines as anyone else with anaphylaxis, with provision of an emergency action plan, and trained in the use of injectable adrenaline such as EpiPen.

    Sensitivity to sulfites is a different condition to sulphur drug allergy
    Some patients will have allergic reactions to sulphur molecule containing medication or sulphur antibiotics. This is a very different condition to sulfite sensitivity. Those allergic to sulfites are not at increased risk of sulphur drug allergy, and vice versa.


  • Last Edited by McCobbre Feb 28th, 2008 at 11:21 am

    "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. They are potent forms of enchantment, rich with the power to hurt or heal."~Albus Dumbledore



    Me: shellfish, chamomile, sesame and a few odds & ends
    DS: peanuts
    Posted: Mar 1st, 2008 at 09:21 am

    I thought I remember reading somewhere on the boards that there's no RAST or SPT for sulfites. I must be wrong because yesterday I had RAST done for 90 foods, and sulfites were on the list.