Dried Fruits and Sulfur Dioxide

 Sulfur dioxide is what forms when sulfur is burned; it is commonly used to treat dried fruit to keep them from browning.

Like many elements on the FDA’s GRAS list (Generally Regarded As Safe), the actual safety of the element for human consumption is debatable and the FDA has asked for further studies. At the same time, the FDA has no regulating figure on the maximum amount of sulfur dioxide that can be used.

Sulfur dioxide itself is very poisonous; inhalation of the gas can be highly irritating to the lungs and can even cause death (in concentrated amounts).

Although sulfur dioxide fumes aren’t inhaled by the consumer of dried fruits treated with the gas, the residues left on the fruit alter its nutritional value and can effect the body.

Beside destroying part of the B vitamin complex contained in food treated with sulfur dioxide, a 1933 report (called “100,000,000 Guinea Pigs; Dangers in Everyday Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics”) found that daily portions of 3/10 to 1 gram (about as much as is found in 6 ounces of dried fruit) over a period of months caused different problems in individuals, including “destruction of corpuscles in the blood, anemia, belching of sulfur dioxide gas, inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth, symptoms of malaise, headache, backache, nausea, albumin in the urine, sensation of cold, etc.)”.

Sure you may not eat that amount of dried fruit everyday for months straight but here’s where the controversy comes in. Since there’s proof that sulfur dioxide builds up in our body, if we eat the occasional dried fruit treated with sulfur dioxide – how many years would it take for the effects to show up? Is it all just a coincidence that an overwhelming number of elderly are low in B vitamins, suffer from anemia, experience the effects of destructed corpuscles in the blood, suffer from malaise, experience “unexplained” headaches, backaches, nausea, etc.

When you need the occasional prune treatment or buy a whole grain cereal with fruit added, it may be worth the little bit of extra effort and expense to get unsulfured dried fruit.

Do you have words of wisdom on this matter? Let us know.

5 Responses to “Dried Fruits and Sulfur Dioxide”
  1. Josh Maxwell says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  2. Jenna says:

    Hmm this is very interesting. Vegans and vegetarians eat a lot of dried fruits on a daily basis-they’re an excellent source of iron, calcium, vitamin c, b vitamins, vitamin E, fibre and other nutrients/vitamins (depending on which you are eating). I have often worried about reading “suphur dioxide” on labels every time I bought dried fruit. After years I have only recently looked into it! I now buy dried apricots that have not been treated with it-they’re a bit more expensive, but i’d rather be safe than sorry. They taste great and last just as long! The worry is when sulpur dioxide appears in other products such as cereals-its harder to find products like this without it hidden somewhere. I have certainly been experiencing mysterious burping which the doctor cannot account for-could it be sulphur dioxide gas?!

  3. organic foods are the best for our health since they are free from dangerous chemicals and toxins -.;

  4. Jered Oppelt says:

    Need more info on sulhur dioxidde on dried fruit

  5. Corinna says:

    Just noticed from the label that this crap was in dried seeds and fruits I bought to eat “healthful” – thanks for this article, I won’t buy from Kroger products by “nuts are good, inc” that all seem to use this preservative.

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