What preservatives are known to cause allergic reactions?

By Susan Brewer, Ph.D., University of Illinois,
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
An “allergic” reaction means that your immune system attacks a substance starting a cascade of events leading to cells releasing irritating or toxic substances which result in rashes, hives, itching, asthma, etc.  Most of the time, what people experience in response to food ingredients is considered “an adverse reaction” not an allergic response.  Feelings of flushing, headaches, abdominal distress, diarrhea are usually adverse reactions.  Sulfiting agents, used as an antioxidant to prevent browning of fruits and vegetables, can cause what the  FDA considers an “allergic-like response” in some sensitive individuals, primarily asthmatics.
foodsafety.gov. “US FDA CFSAN--Consumer Food Allergies Rare But Risky”.


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