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What types of foods commonly contain sulfites?

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Quick Answer

The common types of food items that contain sulfites include baked goods, alcoholic beverages, jams, nut products and jellies, as well as fish, gelatins, processed vegetables, soup mixes, tea, and grain products. Pickled foods, bottled vegetable juices, processed meat products and dried fruits also contain sulfites.

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Full Answer

Sulfites are basically chemicals/salts that are used as antioxidants and preservatives for a variety of different food products and beverages. These substances not only help the foods last longer but also preserve their flavors and colors. All sorts of cheeses contain sulfites, which develop during the process of aging. Pickled onions, olives, maraschino cherries and wine vinegar might also contain sulfites.

Food labels normally indicate if sulfites are added to the product or not, which is particularly helpful for those who are sensitive to these preservatives. The food additives that contain sulfites include sulfur dioxide (E220), calcium sulfite (E226), sodium sulfite (E221), caustic sulfite caramel (E150b), and sodium hydrogen sulfite (E222). The Food and Drug Administration of United States has prohibited the use of sulfites in fresh vegetables and fruits, with the exception of potato dishes, as of 2015. The reason for this is presumed to be the large number of Americans (more than 1 percent) who are sensitive to sulfites.

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