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Stichting Food-Info> E-numbers > E200-300

E221: Sodium sulphite

Sodium salt of sulphurous acid

Function & characteristics:
It is a white, non-stable powder, which reacts with oxygen to form sodium sulphate. In acidic conditions it forms sulphurous acid, a preservative. It is used as a preservative as well as oxidising and bleaching agent to prevent spoilage and discoloration. In meat it prevents browning; however, it is not allowed in meat products, as it may mask bacterial spoilage characterized by discoloration. It is also used as a bread enhancer, by dint of its action in improving the kneading capacity of the bread.

Egg-yolk and products with egg-yolk, salads, beer, bread, caramel

Acceptable Daily Intake:
Up to 0.7 mg/kg body weight.

Side effects:
Due to its oxidising effect, it may reduce the vitamin content in products. It is reduced in the liver to harmless sulphate and excreted in the urine.

In combination with alcohol it increases the symptoms of a hangover. People who are intolerant towards natural sulphites should also avoid added sulphites (E221-228).

Dietary restrictions:
None sulphur dioxide and sulphites can be consumed by all religious groups, vegans and vegetarians. is an initiative of Stichting Food-Info, The Netherlands

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