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Fate of Sulphites During Cooking and Storage of Prepared Foods

Institutions
RHM Technology, Ltd
Start date
2005
End date
2006
Objective

The experimental plan was designed to reliably quantify rates of loss by including an estimate of the degree of variability (batch to batch and within batch)es of sulphite levels in products as sold and after storage or cooking.

The key elements to the study were as follows:
  • An experimental design providing uncertainties for all determined values.
  • Accurate and precise method of measurement (HPLC - high performance liquid chromatography method).
  • Measurement of sulphite rate of loss for each set of storage or preparation conditions.
  • Variants of each product were included to permit the potential correlation of product characteristics with rate of loss.

Four types of food were chosen for study: sausages, burgers, diluting squashes and instant mashed potato. There are concerns that sulphite is being consumed at levels close to the ADI. This is particularly important for children whose food intake to body weight ratio is higher. Therefore the foodtypes were chosen because they have high sulphite content and are commonly consumed in large amounts by children. A number of examples of each type were studied. Sausages and burgers were cooked by either grilling and frying.

More information

Background: Sulphites (E220-228) are used as preservatives in foods, primarily to control microbial spoilage. In solutions, sulphites also exist in the form of sulphur dioxide and are typically both measured and expressed as sulphur dioxide.

Sulphites are known potentially to be allergens in people prone to asthma and as such are controlled by EU labelling requirements (Nov 2004). They must be declared if present at or above 10 mg/kg or litre. An acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 0.7 mg/kg body weight/day has been set by the European Scientific Committee on Food (SCF). Natural variation in manufacturing and domestic preparation mean that sulphite levels in products, as sold and after storage or cooking, will show variability between and within batches.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project source
View this project
Project number
A01045
Categories
Sanitation and Quality Standards
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Commodities
Produce