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About Allergies

Sulphites

Quick Facts

  • Sulphites are used as a food additive and can also occur naturally in some foods.
  • Sulphites can cause allergic-like symptoms in some individuals.
  • Health Canada includes sulphites (a food additive) as a priority allergen.

Be Allergy-Aware

  • Read ingredient labels every time you buy or eat a product.
  • Do The Triple Check and read the label:
    • Once at the store before buying it.
    • Once when you get home and put it away.
    • Again before you serve or eat the product.
  • Always carry your epinephrine auto-injector.
  • For tips on eating out, visit our guide for dining out with food allergies.
  • Check with manufacturers directly to see if the product is safe for you even if your allergen is not listed on the ingredient list.
  • Be careful when buying products from outside of Canada, since labelling rules differ from country to country.

Labelling

In Canada, sulphites are required to be labelled when added as an ingredient or component to a food at any level, with a few exceptions for ingredients that are exempted from declaring all their components.  For more information, please visit Health Canada’s web page about sulphites.

Other names for sulphites

  • Potassium bisulphite
  • Potassium metabisulphite
  • Sodium bisulphite, sodium dithionite, sodium metabisulphite, disodium sulphite, sulfite
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Sulphiting agents
  • Sulphurous acid
  • E 220, E 221, E 222, E 223, E 224, E 225, E226, E227, E 228 (European names)

Possible sources of sulphites

  • Alcoholic/non-alcoholic beer, cider, wine
  • Apple cider
  • Baked goods
  • Bottled lemon and lime juice/concentrate
  • Canned/frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Cereal, cornmeal, cornstarch, crackers, muesli
  • Condiments
  • Deli meats, hot dogs, sausages
  • Dressings, gravies, guacamole, sauces, soups, soup mixes
  • Dried fruits and vegetables
  • Dried herbs, spices, tea
  • Fish
  • Fresh grapes
  • Fruit fillings, fruit syrups, gelatines, jams, jellies, marmalade, molasses, pectin
  • Fruit/vegetable juices
  • Glazed/glacéed fruits
  • Processed potatoes (such as frozen French fries)
  • Snack foods
  • Soy products
  • Starches
  • Sugar syrups
  • Tomato paste/pulp/purée
  • Vinegar, wine vinegar

Non-food sources of sulphites

  • Bottle sanitizing solution for home brewing
  • Certain medications

To Report a Reaction

If you believe you may have reacted to added sulphites not listed on the packaging, you can report it to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which may issue a product recall. Find out more on our Food Labelling page.

Download a printable PDF of this page.