Changes in evaluation of sulphur dioxide and sulphites

Limited data leads EFSA to withdraw the temporary ADI value for sulphur dioxide and sulphites and instead introduce an MoE value. 

In 2016 The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) carried out a risk assessment of sulphur dioxide and sulphites. Due to limited data, only a temporary acceptable daily intake (ADI) could be established. A new risk assessment from 2022 is still impeded by inadequate data. As a result, EFSA withdraws the temporary ADI and instead implements a margin of exposure (MoE) value.

Youngsters may ingest too much
EFSA concludes that the MoE value should be at least 80. The MoE value is a dose level at which an effect is not expected to occur. EFSA’s exposure assessment has shown that the MoE is less than 80 for all age groups, except adolescents. This means that especially young people eat too many sulphite-containing food items. This may lead to asthmatic reactions or hives.

Label requirements
If sulphur dioxide and sulphites are added to food, they must be stated on the packaging. Regardless of their use they must be labelled if the concentration is 10 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) or 10 milligrams per litre (mg/L) or above.

DHI contributed to the EFSA risk assessment in 2016, and you can get more information about sulphur dioxide and sulphites from our food toxicologist:

Helle Buchardt Boyd 
Tel +45 4516 9097