The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Hippies don’t eat sulphur October 17, 2009

Filed under: Food — Alden @ 4:33 pm

So I was snacking on some dried pears from the grocery store on the corner yesterday. They aren’t REALLY dry – in fact they still plump and yummy looking. Healthy snack right?



I got this weird taste in my throat. Almost metallic, entirely unpleasant. I looked at the ingredients.

preserved with sulphur dioxide

Really? WTF is that?

I did some research and this is what I found:

Sulphites have been around to preserve foods since the Greek and Roman times for wine, but it wasn’t until the 1880s that their use was extended to meats, and then fruit and vegetables in the twentieth century.

Sulphites destroy thiamine (Vitamin B1). A number of cats and dogs have died from thiamine deficiency due to a steady diet of pet meat containing unlisted sulphites. Because of these concerns, sulphites’ use in meat has been banned in the USA since 1959. Sulphites are also thought to destroy folic acid. But the worst part of sulphites is that they have been associated with a full range of food intolerance symptoms: headaches, irratable bowel symptoms, behavior disturbance and skin rashes. What sulphites are really known for are their effects on astmatics. Following the “bar deaths” of the 1970s and 80s, when there were hundreds of reports of severe reactions and at least 12 asthmatics died from eating salads spray with sulphites in restaurants. Their use was banned in 1986, but they are still used on frozen french fries.

Apparently, the best way to avoid sulphates is to just avoid processed foods. It can be found in wine, wine coolers, cookies, crackers, pizza crust, flour tortillas, pickles, olives, salad dressing mixes, any time of sugar derived from sugar beet, any type of shrimp or lobster, frozen french fries, fruit fillings, spinach pasta, batters, noodle/rice mixes, james and jellies, shredded coconut, soy protein products, dried fruit snacks, trail mixes, filled crackers, canned soups, corn syrup, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup -you should’ve dropped that by now anyway – and the list goes on!

Here’s the thing: sulphates aren’t even necessary for preserving fruit. It just makes it look nice. Same thing with shrimp. It makes them nice and pink.

If you want more information, this page is comprehensive and well-cited.


2 Responses to “Hippies don’t eat sulphur”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    No Wine? Nooooo!

  2. vravier Says:

    I am shocked, but not surprised. I’ve had the impression that most of the food that we eat in our “post” industrial societies is made with plastic or some similar material. Let’s search for real food!!!!

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