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Sulfite sufferers sandbagged again.


Some time ago, we wrote about public concern over sulfites, the chemical preservatives used by restaurants to prevent spoilage and discoloration (e.g., of lettuce). Many persons are so sensitive to these substance that they complain of dizziness, wheezing, hives, etc. Some persons have even died as a result. As a consequence of the publicity given this problem, many restaurants now post warnings about sulfites being used in some of their foods.

Since 1985, the Food and Drug Administration has been looking into the use of sulfites by commercial potato processors who supply restaurants with peeled potatoes ready for frying. the FDA estimates that as many as one million Americans are sulfite sensitive, with four deaths in the past five years the result of persons' eating sulfite-treated potatoes in restaurants. Last March, the FDA banned sulfite use on fresh potatoes, but soon thereafter the National Coalition of Fresh Potato Processors and several other potato companies succeeded in overthrowing the ban on a legal technicality.

Therefore, until the FDA can get its act in order again, sulfite-sensitive potato lovers had best stick to baked potatoes in restaurants, because sulfites are used only on peeled potatoes. otherwise, if the restaurant does not volunteer the information that it uses sulfites on its potatoes (information that is supposed to appear on the containers in which the potatoes are delivered), one can ask the waiter if his restaurant's potatoes contain preservatives--and take a chance on getting a correct answer.
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Title Annotation:sulfites used in potato processing
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Dec 1, 1990
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