Date of the report: 24.06.2002
Report number: 20
Dried fruit and vegetables / sulphurous acid and declaration
Number of samples tested: 41 objected to: 8
Grounds for objection: SO2 not declared (3), declaration (5)
Dried fruit or vegetables can, in addition to dehydrating them, be preserved using preservatives. Sulphurous acid
prevents both enzymatic and non-enzymatic browning reactions, has a stabilising effect on vitamin C and also
inhibits microbial attack during storage. Sulphuretted foodstuffs contain sulphurous acid (sulphur dioxide; E220)
or sulphite (E221-228).
If the additive SO 2 is present, this must be declared on the packaging.
According to the Federal Rules and Regulations on Ingredients and Additives, which have been in force since 1
May, the following maximum quantities apply:
Foodstuffs SO2 max.
Apricots, peaches, grapes, plums and figs 2 g/kg
Bananas 1 g/kg
Apples, pears 0.6 g/kg
Other fruit 0.5 g/kg
Tomatoes 0.2 g/kg
Mashed potato powder 0.1 g/kg
Until 1.5.2004, the following maximum quantities of SO2 may be present according to the unrevised Federal Rules
and Regulations on Ingredients and Additives:
Foodstuffs SO2 max.
Apricots 2 g/kg
Grapes 1 g/kg
Apples, pears, peaches 1.5 g/kg
Other fruit 1 g/kg
Tomato vegetables 0.5 g/kg
Mashed potato powder 0.2 g/kg dry matter
Raisins (2), figs (4), apples (3), plums (2), common plums (1), apricots (5), pears (2), pineapples (5), mangos (1),
bananas (4), melons (1), kakis (1), papaya (1), fruit mixtures (2), tomatoes (2), chillies (3) in dried form and
mashed potato powder (2) were sampled.
The sulphurous acid was determined titrimetrically.
Three samples were the subject of complaints. They contained sulphurous acid without this preservative being
declared on the label. One of these products was sold in unpackaged form. A written declaration can in this
case only be dispensed with if the information can be obtained verbally. According to the vendor, the product was
None of the samples contained too much of the preservatives E220-228.
Five samples were referred to the competent State Laboratory owing to declaration deficiencies or an
inadmissible ingredient: the use-by date was missing from two samples, while two other samples that were
“surface treated” did not state the additives used for this purpose. One sample of dried melons declared
flavourings. These are not allowed in dried fruit.
As some people show intolerance reactions to SO2, the declaration of this preservative is very important.
Accordingly, dried fruit will continue to be analysed for sulphurous acid from time to time.