Food Science and Technology Department


Document Type


Date of this Version



Chapter 29 in Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Additives, 5th ed. Edited by Dean D. Metcalfe, Hugh A. Sampson, Ronald A. Simon, and Gideon Lack. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Pp. 361–374.


Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Used by permission.


Key Concepts

Sulfites are frequently used food and drug additives.

Ingestion of sulfite residues has been documented to trigger asthmatic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Sulfite-induced asthma occurs in less than 5% of asthmatic individuals, and those with severe, persistent asthma are at greatest risk.

The diagnosis of sulfite-induced asthma is best made by blinded oral challenge with assessment of lung function.

Labeling regulations in the United States alert sulfite-sensitive individuals to the presence of sulfites in foods, which must then be avoided.