Sulphur-free dried fruits are healthier

For most consumers, there is no difference between dried fruits containing sulphur and those that are sulphur free. However, for some sensitive individuals, consumption can produce allergy-like reactions which may have serious consequences. Reactions to sulphites are most likely to occur among persons who are asthmatic (up to 10 per cent of asthmatics may be sensitive to sulphur in food, drinks and drugs). Adverse actions in non-asthmatics are extremely rare.

Sulphur, in various forms, helps preserve dried fruits. It can also prevent the unattractive browning or darkening that would otherwise occur when light-coloured fruits such as apricots and pears are dried. Fruits treated with sulphur must declare the use of this class of food additive on the label. Foods containing sulphur can be identified by the following food additive code numbers on the label: 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, and 228. For example, preservative 220 or preservative 223, on the label means that the form of sulphur used was sulphur dioxide or sodium metabisulphite respectively (see appendix 3 for a list of food additive code numbers).