What Are Sulfites and Can I Be Allergic To Them?

Many may have not heard of sulfties or allergies to sulfites. Sulfites are a common food preservative that can be found in a wide range of foods. They protect the flavor and color of the food; It also can stop bacterial growth, stop fresh food from rotting, and increase shelf life. The names to look for when avoiding sulfites are:

  • Sulfur dioxide

  • Sodium sulfite

  • Sodium bisulfite

  • Sodium metabisulfite

  • Potassium bisulfite

  • Potassium metabisulfite

Typically, sulfite allergies are linked with asthma with 5%-10% of those with asthma have allergies to sulfites. Symptoms of sulfite allergies range from hives to dizziness or throuble breathing. Sulfite allergies can cause anaphylactic shock to those with asthma.

These foods contain sulfites and should be avoided if you have sulfite allergies:

  • Baked Goods

  • Dried Fruits

  • Bottled Lemon/Lime Jusice

  • Sauerkraut

  • Grape Jucies

  • Molasses

  • Dried Potatoes

  • Gravies/Sauces

  • Maraschino Cherries

These foods have low levels of sulfites and can be dangerous for those with allergies:

  • Fresh Shrimp

  • Pickles

  • Maple Syrup

  • Dehydrated Vegetables

  • Cheeses

  • Muffin Mix

  • Ciders and Cider Vinegar

  • Grapes

  • Coconut

  • Gelatin

  • Soft Drinks

  • Frozen Pizza


Illustration by Joshua Seong. © Verywell, 2018

Sulfites can be found in some medication. If you or a loved one is allergic to sulfites, be sure to ask your doctor is a medication has sulfites. Asthma medication may contain sulfites. If you suspect someone you know or yourself may have an allergy to sulfites, contact your doctor immediately.

Do you know someone who has sulfite allergies? If yes, how do they handle their allergies? Comment below and share your stories! Share this blog with someone who wants to learn about sultfite allergies!

Stef PenrodComment