Most foods contain acceptable sulfite levels, FSANZ study shows

Tuesday, 08 May, 2012

Most foods contain sulfites at acceptable levels, a recent Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) survey has shown. The survey examined sausages, cordials and dried fruit and found that sulfite levels in almost all foods tested were well below those allowed in the Food Standards Code.

“The results showed only three sausages, out of 156, had levels above the limits set in the Food Standards Code,” said FSANZ CEO Steve McCutcheon. “These exceedences have been reported to the relevant state or territory agency for follow up.”

The survey was conducted as preliminary work on a proposal looking at the use of sulfites, McCutcheon said.

Sulfites occur naturally in foods and in the human body, but are also used to preserve food. They also have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. In people who are sensitive to sulfites, they can cause allergic symptoms and asthmatic reactions.

The Code requires any added sulfites, above a certain level in a food, to be declared on the ingredients list.

FSANZ says it “is considering the overall dietary exposure to sulfites across a wide range of food groups to ensure there are no food safety concerns for the whole population.”

This information is reproduced with the kind permission of FSANZ.

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