The Application of Industrial Sulfur in Food is an Illegal Addition

What is Industrial Sulphur?

  Sulfur is also known as stone sulfur, Kunlun sulfur, colloidal sulfur, etc. Its appearance is light yellow brittle crystal or powder with special odor. Sulfur is insoluble in water, slightly soluble in alcohol and ether, and easily soluble in carbon disulfide. As a flammable solid, sulfur is mainly used in the manufacture of dyes, pesticides, matches, gunpowder, rubber, rayon, etc. Industrial sulfur is obtained from petroleum refinery gas, natural gas, coke oven gas recovery or pyrite, and food-grade sulfur (food additive sulfur) is obtained by processing, processing and purifying industrial sulfur. The difference between the two is mainly due to their different levels of toxic substances. According to GB 3150-2010 “Food Additives-Sulfur”, the arsenic content of food additive sulfur shall not exceed 1mg/kg, while the limit of arsenic content of industrial grade sulfur of qualified products is 0.05% (ie 50mg/kg).

Why is it illegally added to food?

  Industrial sulfur generally has three functions in illegal food processing: first, decolorization and whitening, commonly used in some steamed bread, noodles, vermicelli, sugar and other processing plants; second, anti-corrosion, food can extend the shelf life after sulfur fumigation; third, Ripening, some fruits “ripen” quickly after being fumigated with sulphur. In addition to the above-mentioned foods, industrial sulfur may be added: dried fruit and vegetable products, dried aquatic products, dried peppers, candied fruit, white fungus, longan, carrots, ginger, etc.

  At the same time, industrial sulfur is half cheaper than food grade, and it is also illegally added for cost.

What are the hazards?

  Sulfur is a toxic and hazardous chemical, and the sulfur dioxide produced by its steam and sulfur combustion is highly toxic to the human body. Fumigated food will leave a lot of sulfur dioxide. Long-term consumption of foods with high sulfur dioxide content has many hazards: sulfur dioxide enters the body with food and generates sulfite, which is oxidized to sulfate by sulfite oxidase in tissue cells, and finally excreted through urine after normal detoxification. . A small amount of sulfur dioxide entering the body can be considered safe and harmless, but excessive amounts will cause harm to human health. Its toxicity is mainly manifested as acute and chronic hazards caused by occupational exposure and excessive eating. The main toxicity of oral ingestion of sulfur dioxide is gastrointestinal reactions such as nausea and vomiting. In addition, it can affect calcium absorption and promote the loss of calcium in the body.

  In addition, industrial sulfur contains more heavy metals, such as arsenic, which is particularly harmful to the human body. Arsenic will accumulate in osteoporosis, liver, kidney, spleen, muscle, hair, nails and other parts, and act on the nervous system. Stimulates hematopoietic organs and may induce malignant tumors.

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