Sulphites are Cooking Up Trouble

in Other Food Allergy
Published: August 19, 2010

Staying Safe

1. If you’re sensitive to sulphites, avoid dried fruit and vegetables.

2. Most wines produce natural sulphites in the fermentation process, and sulphites are also added as a preservative. But some organic wineries are creating wines with no added sulphites. Some, such as LaRocca Vineyards in California, say their wines also have no natural sulphites or only traces of it. LaRocca’s red wine contains no sulphites, while its white contains only 1 part per million of the chemical.

3. Check wine labels. Under U.S. rules, wine with less than 10 parts per million of sulphites is considered safe for most who are sensitive, and winemakers are required to list the sulphite content when it is greater than that. If the the wine contains only 8 ppm, the winemaker is allowed to label it: “sulphite-free”.

Canada does not require winemakers to disclose the level of sulphites on labels, but the government has proposed legislative changes that would require this. In the meantime, if it’s a North American wine, check with the winery or distributor regarding questions on sulphite content. And don’t leave “sulphite-free” bottles of wine on the shelf for long; they may spoil.

4. Always read package labels, but be cautious. Even if you don’t see sulphites on the label, they may still be hidden in the food, in one of the ingredients like glucose. Also, remember that some foods prepared in grocery stores or sold in vending machines don’t have to be labeled.

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