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    What Is Sodium Metabisulfite And Is It Safe?

    What Is Sodium Metabisulfite And Is It Safe?

    Sodium metabisulfite is a sulfur based chemical compound that is highly water soluble and finds application in diverse industries for its bleaching and preservation properties. This versatile compound with the chemical formula Na2S2O5 despite having its own benefits also comes with a lot of side effects which can lead to severe health risks in people up to death. Sodium metabisulfite china is the most widely used chemical by food manufacturers.

    sodium metabisulfite preservative in meat

    Impact Of Sodium Metabisulfite

    Sodium metabisulfite as a preservative is used for preserving a lot of ingredients as well as products based on the specific industry where it is being utilized in the food industry, for instance, Food grade sodium metabisulfite is distinguished as e223 food additive. It is used widely to prevent the oxidation and bleaching of fruits, vegetables, and seafood.

    However, extensive or improper consumption and use of Sodium metabisulfite in food can be highly toxic for consumers and lead to significant damage to the gastric system. This reaction occurs because sodium metabisulfite reacts with the gastric acid, causing the formation of sulfur dioxide leading to issues like stomach ache, disrupting glut balance, causing allergies, or other issues. Since it is used widely in wines, it can cause a lot of people to experience ‘wine headaches’ which are essentially triggered by the addition of sodium metabisulfite. Similarly, when introduced through pharmaceuticals, in the form of epinephrine, the substance can lead to liver failure.

    Health and Safety Risks

    If you have been wondering is sodium metabisulfite safe to be used in any capacity through food, it is essential to know that when dealing with products containing sodium metabisulfite, following safety precautions is vital. Although it is considered safe to consume by food authorities and has been classified as GRAS by the FDA, the quantity of usage and regulations around its safety are highly stringent. Some of the common health risks and sodium metabisulfite side effects can include issues like:

    • Skin rashes (especially in people that are allergic to this chemical)
    • Digestive and gastric issues of severe grade, which can manifest in long-term issues
    • Problems with the respiratory tract
    • Headaches
    • Dizziness
    • In very rare cases, excessive consumption could potentially lead to death. However, the consumption has to be very extreme.

    By itself, sodium metabisulfite can be extremely hazardous for a person’s health due to its direct connection with causing irritation on the skin’s tissue, and displaying hazardous impact when inhaled. When mixed with water, it is also known to become corrosive in nature.

    When used as a food additive, all kinds of sulfites, including this, can lead to a lot of respiratory issues, with many people having suffered asthma because of metabisulfite sodium toxicity. If a person experiences respiratory issues, they will likely suffer from symptoms such as wheezing, tightness in the chest, and uncontrollable coughing. A person, who already has asthma or is susceptible to it, will experience worsening symptoms.

    sodium metabisulfite keeps vegetables fresh

    In some cases, although rare, sodium metabisulfite can lead to an occurrence of anaphylaxis which can culminate in the form of hives, tightening of chest, shortness of breath, face swelling, tongue or lips swelling, soreness of throat, symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, and the person might also experience a difficulty in swallowing. In such cases, the patient might also pass out or experience a severe case of dizziness or rapid heartbeat.

    With changing lifestyles, more and more food additives are being used in products to preserve them and to modify specific aspects such as bleaching them from their natural organic form. This leads to more and more complexities and greater chances of being exposed to harmful substances, in this case: sodium metabisulfite. In order to prevent such issues, the following simple measures can be highly effective:

    • Thoroughly read the food labels to test which products contain this chemical to regulate its intake. For instance, when you purchase wine or beer, look for options that mention ‘sulfite-free’.
    • Check the concentration level of the chemical in particular foods, and avoid those that have a higher content
    • Avoid eating products which have sodium metabisulfite such as jams, jellies, pizza dough, bread, dried fruits, beer, etc.
    • If you have been consuming foods with sodium metabisulfite in them, and suffer any issues, inform your healthcare providers.
    • Always try to include as many fresh products as possible and avoid using too much processed stuff.


    Although sodium metabisulfite is used a lot in diverse applications, it can be harmful when consumed excessively. As such, it is for consumers to check which products they are consuming, what are the exact content of these products, and whether they can be harmful for them. If you are someone who gets allergic reaction to sodium metabisulfite, you must be extra careful. This way, it is possible to properly enjoy food and other products without suffering ill-effects.

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