While sulfites are naturally-occuring in some foods, sulfites are often added as a preservative during processing and can be found in a number of edibles and potables. This can be a dangerous additive for some people.
Beginning in the 1980's, the FDA requires that sulfites at a level of >10 parts per million have to appear on the food label. When you read an ingredient label, sulfites can be listed as: sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite or potassium bisulfite.
Sulfites prevent browning on fruits and vegetables and have been used in restaurants at salad bars. They are found in many processed foods:
*condiments such as horseradish, relish, pickles, olives, vinegar
*dried fruits, trail mix, shredded coconut, maraschino cherries
*juice, jams, and jellies
*shrimp, scallops, lobster, clams, crab
*gravy, soups, noodles, rice mixes
*potato chips, processed potatoes in all forms
*wine, wine coolers, beer, hard cider, cocktail mixes
I'm not necessarily a chemophobic (those having a "fear of chemicals"), but it's reported by Suite 101 that 1% of the population is sensitive to sulfites. Those who have asthma have a heightened sensitivity and could be at high risk. Reactions for most sensitive people can be breathing difficulties, chest tightness, dizziness, nausea, cramps, hives, wheezing.
However you slice it, this humble pie gives you just one more reason to grow your own fruits, veggies and, yes, especially grapes! If you are one of the sensitive ones, and you like an occasional glass of wine, consider making your own.
When it comes to sulfites, wine is a particular problem, especially grape wine. Nature gives sulfites to grapes. Winemakers in all countries, even home winemakers, use yeast which produces additional sulfites as the yeast interacts with the fruit. Additionally, winemakers all over the world add sulfites to finish the wine, as a preservative. This stops any further action in the wine.
In the U.S., wines with sulfites > 350 mg per liter are illegal and any U.S. wine with sulfites > 20 parts per liter must have a warning label. This standard is not world-wide.
Organic wines are made (1) without added sulfites and also (2) naturally occuring sulfites must be at < 20 parts per million. These organic wines last up to 18 months. Aww! If you make your own, yours can be organic and would probably pass the test. In order to produce a more organic wine, I have begun cleaning utensils with boiling water rather than a bisulfite solution and pouring boiling water over the fruit instead of cooler water with the addition of sulfites to kill impurities in the fruit. It's the way the old-timers did things and apparently it works!
Welcome to The Pauley Principle!
The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!
Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.