Sulphite allergy, although less well known than other food allergies, can have serious consequences for health. Often associated with wine, this allergy also affects other foods.

What is a sulphite allergy?

Sulphites, used as preservatives in many foods, can trigger allergic reactions in some people. These preservatives, found in wine and other products, have antioxidant and antibacterial properties, but can cause allergies in sensitive individuals.

Symptoms of sulphite allergy

Symptoms of sulphite allergy range from digestive, respiratory and skin reactions to headaches. Although generally not fatal, these symptoms can be particularly annoying and, in some cases, trigger potentially serious asthma attacks.

Treatment for sulphite allergy

There is currently no specific treatment for sulphite allergy. The best approach is to avoid foods containing sulphites altogether. Protocols for reintroducing sulphites exist, aimed at educating the immune system and reducing allergic reactions.

Identifying sulphites in food

Detecting sulphites in food can be complex. They are often listed under codes (E220 to E228) on the labels of packaged products. Since 2015, it has also been compulsory to display sulphites on unpackaged products, making them easier to identify for allergy sufferers.

Cross-allergies linked to sulphites

Sulphite allergy can sometimes be confused with other food allergies, particularly those linked to fish preserved with sulphites. Extra vigilance is therefore required to correctly identify the allergen responsible.

Precautions and day-to-day management of sulphite allergy

People with a sulphite allergy should be careful with their daily diet, avoiding wine and other products containing sulphites. Reading labels carefully and keeping informed about products likely to contain sulphites is essential for managing this allergy.