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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Experts say sulfites, most commonly used in wine, are now being used as preservatives in more food products from soup to nuts to help extend their shelf life.
“A variety of foods, mainly processed,” Dr. David Feldman, a digestive disease specialist, said.
This increased use of sulfites is causing concern because many people may not even know they’re allergic to them.
“We don’t know a level of sulfite that may be safe or the level of sulfite that you won’t have a sensitivity or reaction to,” he explained.
Doctors say in some people, sulfites have triggered severe asthma attacks, but in recent years, sulfites are also being linked to an increase in migraine headaches, heart palpitations, hives and even joint pain.
“We need research to investigate that,” Nicolette Pace, a nutritionist, said.
She says while more cause and effect studies need to be conducted, she recommends erring on the side of caution when it comes to your diet.
“All in all it’s probably prudent to minimize your use of prepared foods,” Pace suggested.
Here is a partial list of foods that might contain sulfites:
Bakery goods such as cookies, tortillas, waffles, pie/pizza crusts, breads containing dough conditioners
Condiments such as horseradish, relish, pickles, olives, wine vinegar
Fresh grapes (sulfites can be used on grapes as a fungicide)
Dried and glacéed fruit , Maraschino cherries
Bottled lemon and lime juice
Jams and jellies
Canned and frozen vegetables
Shrimp, scallops, lobster, crab, clams
Soy protein products such as tofu
Processed cheese foods
Soup, noodle, and rice mixes
Potato and tortilla chips
Dehydrated, pre-cut or peeled potatoes
Beer, wine, wine coolers, cocktail mixes, hard cider
Tea concentrates and instant tea