Scientific Interpretation of Sulfur Dioxide


(1) Sulfur dioxide is a kind of food additive that is a […]

(1) Sulfur dioxide is a kind of food additive that is allowed to be used at home and abroad, and plays a role in color protection, antisepsis, bleaching and antioxidation in the food industry.

Sulfur dioxide is a food additive that is allowed to be used at home and abroad. Usually, it is added to foods in the form of potassium sulfite, sodium metabisulfite, sodium sulfite, sodium hydrogen sulfite, sodium hyposulfite, etc., or sulfur fumigating. The way it is used for food processing, it plays a role in color protection, preservation, bleaching and antioxidants. For example, in the production of fruits and vegetables, candied fruit, dried fruit production, white sugar processing and fresh edible fungi and algae can prevent oxidative browning or microbial contamination during storage and processing. The use of sulfur dioxide gas to fumigate the raw materials of fruits and vegetables can inhibit the activity of oxidase in the raw materials, and make the products bright and beautiful. In the processing of white sugar, sulfur dioxide can be combined with colored substances to achieve the bleaching effect.

(2) The rational use of sulfur dioxide in accordance with the standard does not cause harm to human health, but long-term exposure to sulfur dioxide may lead to human respiratory diseases and multi-tissue damage.

Every food additive undergoes a rigorous risk assessment before it is included in the standard. It is safe to pass the risk assessment, obtain approval and follow the standard regulations and the corresponding quality specifications. GB 2760—2014 “Food Safety National Standards for Food Additives” allows food additives to be used for safety assessment. Sulfur dioxide used in compliance with standards will not cause damage to consumers' health.
Taking sugar processing as an example, the residual sulfur dioxide in sugar is mainly due to the use of sulfur as a processing aid in the sugar process for clarification and decolorization. The sugar raw materials and other processing aids may contain sulfur, which also leads to the presence of sulfur dioxide in the sugar. One of the reasons for the residue. A small amount of sulfur dioxide enters the body and eventually forms sulfate, which can be excreted from the urine by normal detoxification without toxic effects. However, if the body excessively ingests sulfur dioxide, it is prone to allergies, which may cause symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, and may cause different degrees of damage to the brain and other tissues.

(3) The use limits and residual amounts of sulfur dioxide in many countries and regions in the world are clearly defined.

   There are clear regulations on the use of sulfur dioxide in many countries and regions in the world. Sulfur dioxide is permitted in the corresponding food category in international Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), the European Union, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other international organizations, national and regional regulations and standards. The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) conducted a safety assessment of sulphur dioxide and developed a daily allowable intake (ADI) of 0-0.7 mg/kg bw. The International Codex Alimentarius (CODEX STAN 212-1999) also imposes a limited requirement on sulfur dioxide in sugar. The residual amount of sulfur dioxide in white sugar should be ≤15 mg/kg.

(4) China's relevant standards and regulations clarify the types of foods that can be used with sulfur dioxide and the corresponding use limits and residues.

   China GB 2760-2014 "Food Safety National Standards for the Use of Food Additives" clearly stipulates that sulfur dioxide is used as a bleaching agent, preservative and antioxidant for surface treated fresh fruits, dried fruits, candied fruits, dried vegetables, pickled Vegetables, canned vegetables (only bamboo shoots, sauerkraut), dried edible fungi and algae, canned edible mushrooms and algae (canned mushrooms only), yuba (including yuba, oily skin, etc.), canned nuts and seeds, cocoa Products, chocolate and chocolate products (including cocoa butter chocolate and products) and confectionery, wet noodles (such as noodles, dumplings, suede, burnt wheat) (ramen only), edible starch, frozen rice noodles (only Limited flavor), biscuits, sugar, starch sugar (fructose, glucose, sugar, some invert sugar, etc.), flavored syrup, semi-solid compound seasoning, fruit and vegetable (pulp), fruit and vegetable juice (pulp) drinks, sweet wine and Fruit wine, beer and malt drinks.
At the same time, in order to ensure its safe use, refer to the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), China's former Ministry of Health No. 6 of 2011 specifies the quality specifications for food additives sulfur dioxide. In addition, in accordance with the provisions of GB 7718 "Food Safety National Standards for Prepackaged Food Labels", as long as sulfur dioxide is used in food, it must be marked on the food label.

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