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Sulphur dioxide in coconut products

by (2254)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:12 PM
Created February 15, 2010 at 8:25 PM

How bad is this? I love creamed coconut and dried coconut flakes, but sometimes the only ones I can find have sulphur dioxide as an additive (no other additives though). I'm guessing this is not ideal, but does anyone know about reported/known/suspected ill effects of this ingredient? I consume quite a lot of dried coconut products so I'm interested to know.

Update: I've also discovered sulphites as additives in the frozen shrimp that I sometimes buy... And having paid closer attention to the effects of eating these foods, I have been noticing the appearance of some, ahem, flatulence on the days I eat a lot of coconut and/or shrimp. Could be a coincidence, but I wouldn't be suprised if it could be attributed to the sulphites. Anyone else had a similar experience?

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7
6082 · February 19, 2010 at 6:58 PM

What we really need to be concerned about is the sulphur coming from my flatulence. It's a significant problem that has community-wide ramifications. :D

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3 Answers

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6b73f0c4b971e2dde7147920e329fe7f
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2041 · February 15, 2010 at 11:11 PM

I'd put that in the "eat it, but seek another source" category. Sulfur dioxide reversibly reacts with certain flavor components (aldehydes) to produce a compound that is less volatile so the flavor of fruits is preserved in drying. When eaten, these compounds quickly revert to sulfites and the original flavors. About 1% of people lack an enzyme, sulfite oxidase, that turns sulfite into benign sulfate, and thus are sensitive to sulfites.1

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22913 · June 02, 2010 at 2:54 PM

I'm going to go with

  • a cause of acid rain
  • a known air pollutant
  • a known toxin linked to asthma and breathing problems
  • decidedly non-paleo unless you live on a volcano

Sulphur dioxide reacts with a wide range of substances found in food, including various essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes and essential fatty acids. Adverse reactions: bronchial problems particularly in those prone to asthma, hypotension (low blood pressure), flushing tingling sensations or anaphylactic shock. International Labour Organization says to avoid E220 if you suffer from conjunctivitis, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma, or cardiovascular disease.

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1523 · May 20, 2013 at 7:14 PM

I too am concerned about this additive. My personal experience is that I seem to get a swelling of the gums after consuming this product and I am concerned it may be the sulphur dioxide which is causing this reaction. Why do we have to put up with this sulphur dioxide in our foods?

Another food which may contain this additive is sultanas. I noticed that after eating some of these which contained the additive, I had an unpleasant chemical taste in my mouth which lingered for more than 24 hours after eating them. I did NOT get this aftertaste when consuming sultanas with NONE of this additive in them. Why should we have to put up with these unpleasant and possibly harmful additives?

Also, LOOK VERY CAREFULLY ON THE PACKET ABOUT WHAT ADDITIVES ARE ADDED. SULPHUR DIOXIDE SEEMS TO GET ADDED TO SOME DRIED FRUITS, SO CHECK THE INGREDIENTS.

As an example, some creamed coconut blocks advertise as being "100% PURE creamed coconut" and then in the small print elsewhere on the same packet we find: "Contains Sulphur Dioxide" so it's NOT 100% pure is it??? So perhaps the only way manufacturers will begin to realise that we, as consumers do NOT want these additives in our food is if we collectively AVOID buying the brands which have these additives in them.

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