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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1988 Jun;81(6):1159-67.

Sensitivity to sulfited foods among sulfite-sensitive subjects with asthma.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53792.


Eight individuals with asthma who had been diagnosed as sulfite sensitive on the basis of double-blind capsule-beverage challenges were subjected to challenges with various sulfited foods, including lettuce, shrimp, dried apricots, white grape juice, dehydrated potatoes (as mashed potatoes), and mushrooms. Four of these patients failed to respond to challenges with any of the sulfited foods. The other four patients experienced a decrease in pulmonary function on double-blind challenges with sulfited lettuce. Two of three of these patients reacted to challenges with dried apricots and white grape juice; the fourth patient has not yet been challenged with these products. Only one of these four patients reacted to challenges with dehydrated potatoes and mushrooms, and, in this case, the response to double-blind challenges with dehydrated potatoes was not consistent. None of the sulfite-sensitive subjects with asthma responded to challenges with sulfited shrimp. It is concluded that sulfite-sensitive subjects with asthma will not necessarily react after ingestion of sulfited foods. The likelihood of a reaction is dependent on the nature of the food, the level of residual sulfite, the sensitivity of the patient, and perhaps on the form of residual sulfite and the mechanism of the sulfite-induced reaction.

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