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.
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.