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Migraines, Joint Pain, Hives Linked To Food Preservative

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Experts say sulfites, most commonly used in wine, are now being used as preservatives in more food products from soup to nuts to help extend their shelf life.

"A variety of foods, mainly processed," Dr. David Feldman, a digestive disease specialist, said.

This increased use of sulfites is causing concern because many people may not even know they're allergic to them.

"We don't know a level of sulfite that may be safe or the level of sulfite that you won't have a sensitivity or reaction to," he explained.

Doctors say in some people, sulfites have triggered severe asthma attacks, but in recent years, sulfites are also being linked to an increase in migraine headaches, heart palpitations, hives and even joint pain.

"We need research to investigate that," Nicolette Pace, a nutritionist, said.

She says while more cause and effect studies need to be conducted, she recommends erring on the side of caution when it comes to your diet.

"All in all it's probably prudent to minimize your use of prepared foods," Pace suggested.

Here is a partial list of foods that might contain sulfites:

Bakery goods such as cookies, tortillas, waffles, pie/pizza crusts, breads containing dough conditioners

Condiments such as horseradish, relish, pickles, olives, wine vinegar

Fresh grapes (sulfites can be used on grapes as a fungicide)

Dried and glacéed fruit , Maraschino cherries

Bottled lemon and lime juice

Jams and jellies

Canned and frozen vegetables

Vegetable juices



Shredded coconut

Shrimp, scallops, lobster, crab, clams

Soy protein products such as tofu

Processed cheese foods


Soup, noodle, and rice mixes

Trail mix

Potato and tortilla chips

Dehydrated, pre-cut or peeled potatoes

Beer, wine, wine coolers, cocktail mixes, hard cider

Tea concentrates and instant tea

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