True NO SO2™ Dried Fruits are all-natural and free of sulphur dioxide (SO2), a common preservative used in dried fruit. Our True NO SO2™ Dried Fruits have a superior flavor profile, a more natural color, and fewer processed ingredients, making them an excellent choice for health-conscious consumers looking for natural and unprocessed food. Learn the truth below. #TrueNoSo2
Every year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) recalls food products that have undeclared sulfur dioxide or sulfites, discovered in labels.
Sulfur dioxide (“SO2”) present in most sweetened dried fruit products, is a practice where certain manufacturers soak fruit products in a SO2 solution for up to 2 years. Afterwards, the fruit products are boiled in an attempt to reduce levels below the FDA minimum of 10 parts per million (“ppm”). Companies that do so can claim their product free from SO2 in their documentation and labels. Companies are required to file a Certificate of Analysis (COA) to assure customers, manufacturers, and suppliers that the product they are dealing with meets agreed-upon standards. Most countries, including the United States, require a COA for importing and exporting food products. Increased FDA recalls within the past three years have been due to companies failing to disclose the true levels of SO2 in their products.
“There is no guarantee that boiling out SO2 from products will effectively reduce the SO2 levels to below 10 ppm and render the product entirely sulfite-free”, says Sandra Maring, Seawind Foods’ Supplier Quality Lead. “One section of the lot could yield test results of less than 10 ppm, but another portion of the same lot may have retained sulfur dioxide pockets, producing test results higher than 10ppm. It is nearly impossible to guarantee an entire lot to be less than 10 ppm.”
The task of controlling SO2 residue levels poses an ongoing risk — and the question remains as to who will discover it first; regulators, producers, or importers. The worst-case scenario is if consumers with severe sulfite or sulfur dioxide allergies discover the presence of excessive SO2, which appears to be the case for the recent FDA-recalled products.
Using food items that are known to have contained SO2 or use SO2, even if attempts to boil out has been made, exposes a company to potential risks, increasing the harm to individuals with sulfite allergies or sensitivities.
“Protecting consumers with sulfite or SO2 sensitivities is of utmost importance to us. Many people think they’re purchasing SO2-free products and ingredients, but they are actually not,” said Seawind Foods’ CEO Garry Green. “Strict integrity in labeling is imperative, as the consequences not only lead to severe medical issues, but it can also result in regulatory non-compliance, potential legal consequences, environmental concerns, and damage to your brand reputation.”
Unlike most companies, Seawind Foods’ low-sweet dried fruit never touches unnatural sulfur dioxide, eliminating the potential risk from the get-go. In fact, Seawind Foods’ low-sweet dried fruit ingredients are the only products in North America that are True NoSO2TM.
Vaporizing SO2 through boiling can also pose health risks for workers when inhaled. The wastewater generated from this process may harm the environment, conflicting with companies that comply with ISO14000 environmental commitment, like Seawind Foods. Moreover, this method consumes a considerable amount of water, emphasizing its potential disadvantages. Boiling out SO2 from food items may lead to a loss of or reduced flavor compared to True NoSO2TM products. The recent FDA recall further highlights the growing issue of undeclared sulfites in products.
“Maintaining a tolerance of less than 10 ppm for SO2 residues poses a significant challenge for some manufacturers, particularly when producing dried fruit products in large quantities,” says Maring.” By prioritizing accurate labeling and ensuring compliance with regulations, our team collectively works to contribute toward protecting public health and maintaining the integrity of the food Industry.”
About Seawind Foods
Since 1987, Seawind Foods has remained a trusted producer and distributor of all-natural dehydrated fruits, vegetables and spices to industrial food processors, retailers and national consumer brands. Seawind Foods is committed to using only natural ingredients in our dehydrated fruits and vegetables, free from harmful additives like unnatural sulfur dioxide. Customers can trust that they are getting only the best possible ingredients that are safe to use in any product.