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Squatchy
04-09-2017, 12:07 PM
This might be new to some of you.

http://mastervintner.com/blog/lies-damned-lies-and-sulfites-the-facts/

Ryan

Dadux
04-09-2017, 01:04 PM
Very interesting, but would love to comment on it. Some of the article is right and some is not so right.
While if you did not know it, its valuable info, and i recommend reading it, there is more to the issue.

People who claim to suffer headaches from red wines or whatever would do well in reading your article. Its most likely for the reason explained there they have problems.
However, as far as i know, there is such thing as sulphite sensitivity. https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/product-allergy/sulfite-allergy
I think its wrongly called allergy and its more of a sensitivity (personal oppinion here, you can find it under both names tbh), but its not the same think that your article talks about. There are people who actually do get really bad reactions to ANY food with sulphites. They usually tolerate really low levels of sulhpites so sulhpite "free" wine is probably ok for them (even if it has traces of sulphites, because concentrations matter). Its for this all of my bottles now are labeled stating that i have (or i have not) used sulhpites. In case someone else drinks them i dont want the having a problem. I am an allergic myself to other things and it is horrible when someone does not state allergenic products in their product and i get allergic reactions.
Also i should remark that those reactions only happen with sulphites and not with sulfates and other sulfur compounds.

Sorry to be so critic with the article, Squatchy, but i do think its important people know that there are people like this. Its like comparing an intolerance with an allergy. One is an incommodity and well yes it can be painful or whatever, while the other can have various effect, from inflamation and respiratory problems, to killing you.

Apart from that, the article is really good, and some of it was new to me. I do recommend reading it, specially to many people i've seen in the forum saying they have problems with sulphited wines, but keep in mind what i wrote above.

Maylar
04-09-2017, 04:05 PM
Thank you Dadux. I know someone with a serious "sensitivity" to sulfites. It's no joke to her.

WayneG
04-09-2017, 04:42 PM
The article does seem harsh at best, biased at worst. I am sure there are good arguments to both sides of the debate.
My belief is to avoid adding anything chemical or otherwise that is not needed or can be avoided by dealing with the problem in another way.
Of course I am not trying to sell my mead or store it for a long period, so I can get away with it.

Dadux
04-09-2017, 07:26 PM
The article does seem harsh at best, biased at worst. I am sure there are good arguments to both sides of the debate.
My belief is to avoid adding anything chemical or otherwise that is not needed or can be avoided by dealing with the problem in another way.
Of course I am not trying to sell my mead or store it for a long period, so I can get away with it.

To me the article seems ok. I've read some about the topic of sulphites in general. It is true that a lot of foods contain a shitload of sulhpites, in many cases more than wine. It is a bit sentationalistic, but the info is not bad.
And it speaks about those people who drink wine, get a big headache and just go and blame it on the sulhpites. About that it might be right. It does seem legit, at least (thats all im willing to say without researching the topic further, because there are no references in the article), and its something worth to know.
Sulphites are used in wine for a reason, and they are a good tool. But you gotta be careful who you give what. The easiest way is to make it clear it does contain sulphites, because for a minority it is a real problem.
I dont directly know anyone that suffers from this, but i do a couple of people indirectly, thorugh friends. I figured better safe than sorry, it only takes a little space in my labels. After all i want my meads to be a source of enjoyment, and not of pain.

The article says that there is no such things as "sulphite allregy". Is it true? is it false? I dont know. I know some people are indeed affected by this in a very bad way, and that its still to be determined if it is an allergic respones or what. Thats why i prefer to call it sensitivity. It might be an allergy, i dont pretend to know. Each one can call it what they want. But the article is right because the people who get tipsy easier or get a bigger headache with red wines is not because they are "allergic to sulphites", nor because they are sensitive to it. For me, its useful info, but take everything with some suspicion. Thats why i say its sensationalistic. There is some truth, coated with some ignorance or just marketing to attract readers. Because anyone with 5 minutes can search "sulphite allergy" and find the same things i did. Just because some is false dont take all as false. Just because some is true, dont take it all as true. And remember, since you make the product, it is your responsability to be aware of this things, for the sake of others.

caduseus
04-09-2017, 07:53 PM
To me the article seems ok. I've read some about the topic of sulphites in general. It is true that a lot of foods contain a shitload of sulhpites, in many cases more than wine. It is a bit sentationalistic, but the info is not bad.
And it speaks about those people who drink wine, get a big headache and just go and blame it on the sulhpites. About that it might be right. It does seem legit, at least (thats all im willing to say without researching the topic further, because there are no references in the article), and its something worth to know.
Sulphites are used in wine for a reason, and they are a good tool. But you gotta be careful who you give what. The easiest way is to make it clear it does contain sulphites, because for a minority it is a real problem.
I dont directly know anyone that suffers from this, but i do a couple of people indirectly, thorugh friends. I figured better safe than sorry, it only takes a little space in my labels. After all i want my meads to be a source of enjoyment, and not of pain.

The article says that there is no such things as "sulphite allregy". Is it true? is it false? I dont know. I know some people are indeed affected by this in a very bad way, and that its still to be determined if it is an allergic respones or what. Thats why i prefer to call it sensitivity. It might be an allergy, i dont pretend to know. Each one can call it what they want. But the article is right because the people who get tipsy easier or get a bigger headache with red wines is not because they are "allergic to sulphites", nor because they are sensitive to it. For me, its useful info, but take everything with some suspicion. Thats why i say its sensationalistic. There is some truth, coated with some ignorance or just marketing to attract readers. Because anyone with 5 minutes can search "sulphite allergy" and find the same things i did. Just because some is false dont take all as false. Just because some is true, dont take it all as true. And remember, since you make the product, it is your responsability to be aware of this things, for the sake of others.

Sulphites like food foods can have two types of reactions for the body:
1) Allergies- an allergy is anything that can cause one of the following: any type of rash, any type of swelling, any type of shortness of breath, or anyphylactic shock
2) Sensitivity- any other side effects or discomfort

In addition it is not simple to say allergy is mild and sensitivity is severe. As an allergy can be a mild rash the person does not even feel or itches but can see. It can also put the person's life in danger
A sensitivity can be a mild flush (but no pain) that goes away in 10 minutes or it can be a debilitating migraine and general malaise that lasts days.

The only assumption you can make is that the worst case scenario of an allergy (anaphylactic shock) is worse than the worst case scenario for sensitivity (debilitating migraine and malaise).

Example: Gluten allergy= celiac disease. Gluten sensitivity is another animal entirely.

I believe few people have either with sulphites but when it happens it is usually a sensitivity. That said when it does it can be debilitating for some and milder for others.

Dadux
04-09-2017, 08:14 PM
Sulphites like food foods can have two types of reactions for the body:
1) Allergies- an allergy is anything that can cause one of the following: any type of rash, any type of swelling, any type of shortness of breath, or anyphylactic shock
2) Sensitivity- any other side effects or discomfort

In addition it is not simple to say allergy is mild and sensitivity is severe. As an allergy can be a mild rash the person does not even feel or itches but can see. It can also put the person's life in danger
A sensitivity can be a mild flush (but no pain) that goes away in 10 minutes or it can be a debilitating migraine and general malaise that lasts days.

The only assumption you can make is that the worst case scenario of an allergy (anaphylactic shock) is worse than the worst case scenario for sensitivity (debilitating migraine and malaise).

Example: Gluten allergy= celiac disease. Gluten sensitivity is another animal entirely.

I believe few people have either with sulphites but when it happens it is usually a sensitivity. That said when it does it can be debilitating for some and milder for others.

Not to contradict you specifically, while those are the usualy symptoms fro allergies, its not all there is, and an allergy is a inmune response to something (mediated by a certain type of leukocyte, and with other characteristics), be it pollen, food or others, its caused by molecule, usually a protein. Intolerances and sensitivities dont necesarily work that way. Its usually the inability of the body to metabolize or get rid of some molecule.
Example: lactose intolerant people do not metabolize lactose, and that is the cause of them feeling bad. People allergic to milk have responses to milk proteins, not lactose (a sugar). Lab Grade lactose (the one used to do medicines and not the common milk-purified lactose used in the food industry) is not a problem for the second group. Lactoseless milk is ok for the first group but not the second. You see my point.
Sulphites affect people in an unknown way. But let me tell you, i very much doubt its allergy, since that is usually protein related. Very very usually. Also allergies nearly always give stronger responses than sensitivities and intolerances, and you can indeed die from anaphilactic shock. Anyway, as i said, its still to be dertermined how it affects people.

Maylar
04-10-2017, 09:51 AM
To most people, sensitivity and allergies are the same thing - a physical reaction of some sort. Technically I guess that's not true, but personally I see it as semantics. The article however claims that whatever reaction someone has to wine is due to something other than sulfite, which is totally untrue. There ARE people who react to sulfites.

The same arguments are made concerning MSG. People note that some foods contain MSG naturally - like tomatoes, mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese. The stuff that people react to is not the natural form, but the chemical form manufactured from Monsanto sugar beets. My mom would get violently ill if she ate Chinese food or some canned soups.

X-tian
04-10-2017, 10:56 PM
I am not inclined to use sulfite because I am inherently adverse to adding chemicals of any kind to anything I eat or produce. I am mostly an organic type of guy, hence why I choose to use Fermaid-O as my nutrient of choice (in addition to all the current evidence showing it superior). I am currently experimenting with cold crashing and filtering before choosing to use sulfite. Having said that, I read this article that Squatchy provided us and I must say that it is very convincing about the historical use and safety of sulfite. It makes sense that the malo lactic fermentation process may be the actual culprit instead of sulfite that people so commonly complain of. It seems as if most people don't realize this and thus want to demonize sulfite. Especially considering that sulfites are in almost everything we consume in food, unless you pick everything you eat off the bush, which obviously the vast majority of people don't. At the expense of seeming that I am kissing Squatchy's ass with a brown nose, I will say that his advice has been instrumental in my mead making knowledge skyrocketing to a level that I could only hope to accomplish in years of experience on my own. Therefore, I will give this information some serious consideration.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Squatchy
04-10-2017, 11:15 PM
Thanks for the kind words X-tian

It's guys like you and many others, that make it worth all the hard work for trying to keep this place fresh and interesting. You won't be able to buy a home style filter that will sterilized your meads unfortunately. At least that I'm aware of. My understanding is we're looking at .45 absol;ute to make this happen. I think .45 nominal is the tightest I have found. That just forces one to sit on a bone dry mead for a very long time before you can safely add anything later without restarting fermentation.

X-tian
04-10-2017, 11:28 PM
Thanks for the kind words X-tian

It's guys like you and many others, that make it worth all the hard work for trying to keep this place fresh and interesting. You won't be able to buy a home style filter that will sterilized your meads unfortunately. At least that I'm aware of. My understanding is we're looking at .45 absol;ute to make this happen. I think .45 nominal is the tightest I have found. That just forces one to sit on a bone dry mead for a very long time before you can safely add anything later without restarting fermentation.

Yeah, unfortunately I think you are right. Gonna try, but will remain open to sulfite if I can't make it work.

And thank you for all you contribute here. Undoubtedly it takes a lot of time and effort. Everything you have to say is much appreciated!


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Maylar
04-11-2017, 07:15 AM
Here's a post from a cider forum. There is no MLF involved.


So every time I have some of my cider (doesn't matter the batch), I get a really bad blush on cheeks and quite often my hands swell up (to the point I cannot move my band on my finger which is normally loose) and my face feels like I have a sunburn.

...and it's kinda gettting worse.

When I bottled some cider at a local brewery (they force carb'd it) he was a little concerned how red I became after drinking a glass. Never thought anything of it. This is definitely worse with my ciders than commercial ones.

I'm using one campden per gallon, then at first racking I'm using 1/4 tsp k-meta for 6 gallons total. At bottling I've been adding 1/8 tsp k-meta for all remaining 5.5 gallons or so.

I don't drink wine often (couple times a year) but do get this feeling when I have it.

...and I have 150L of cider on currently....

if I can't have sulfites - what now? Most of my ciders are in secondary and are about 6-8 weeks old from pitching


Still think it's nonsense?

antonioh
04-11-2017, 10:14 AM
Just for the record :


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23816954

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24657134

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11020839

Oskaar
05-23-2017, 09:50 AM
....and an additional for the record: (Note: I've become acquainted with Andy Waterhouse during my time as a presenter at the Mead Courses being offered by The Honey and Pollination Center in the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, U.C. Davis. He is a tireless researcher and when I say researcher I mean just that. He is excited by the subject of sulfite and it's effects on human biology, and the information below is barely the tip of the iceberg of the accumulated research and information he has amassed. Oskaar)

Sulfites

Sulfites or sulfur dioxide is a fruit preservative widely used in dried fruits as well as wine. It is also produced by the human body at the level of about 1000 mg (milligrams) per day. Consumption of food preserved with sulfites is generally not a problem except for a few people who are deficient in the natural enzyme to break it down. For these people, the additional sulfites from food can be a problem. There are reports of severe and life threatening reactions when sulfites were added at erroneously and enormously high levels (100 times what was supposed to be used!) on salad bar vegetables. I have found two reviews of the medical effects of sulfites-unfortunately I could find neither on-line as they appear to be too old. They should be available at medical school libraries.
AF Gunnison and DW Jacobsen, Sulfite hypersensitivity. A critical review. CRC Critical Review in Toxicology, 17: 185-214 (1987). CRC Journals (http://www.crcjournals.com/ejournals/info/howorder.asp)
R.K. Bush, S.L. Taylor and W. Busse, A critical evaluation of clinical trials in reactions to sulfites, J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 78:191-202 (1986). J. Allergy Clin Immunol (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/issn/00916749)

The levels in wine average 80 mg/liter, or about 10 mg in a typical glass of wine, with slightly higher amounts in white versus red. A number of studies show reactions by sensitive patients to drinking wine with sulfites, but it appears that their reactions are also caused by other components. For details on this issue see this review: A.T. Bakalinsky, Sulfites, Wine and Health, in Wine in Context: Nutrition, Physiology, Policy, A.L. Waterhouse and R.M. Rantz, Eds. American Society for Enology and Viticulture (http://www.asev.org/), Davis, 1996. (Publication List) (http://www.asev.org/Journal/Publications/PublicationOrdering.htm)

The medical literature has virtually no reports on sulfites inducing headache. There are many studies of sulfites and asthmatic responses, and a few of these address sulfites in wine. A few studies from Australia shows that even with extremely sensitive people, there is only an asthmatic response in a small number of sensitive subjects (4 out of 24) for a single drink (150 ml) at extremely high sulfite levels-300 mg/liter or 45 mg. No effects were seen at lower levels, such as 150 mg/liter, or with several increasing doses up to 750 mg/liter! See H Valley and PJ Thompson, Role of sulfite additives in wine induced asthma: single dose and cumulative dose studies, Thorax 56:763-769 (2001). Link (http://thorax.bmjjournals.com/)
There are many erroneous ideas about sulfites, so to put the record straight:


All wines contain sulfites. Yeast naturally produce sulfites during fermentation so there is only a rare wine which contains none.
The US requires a "sulfite" warning label and Australia requires a label indicating "preservative 220," but nearly all winemakers add sulfites, including those in France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Chile, etc etc. So, the wine you drink in foreign countries contains sulfites, but you just are not being warned about it when purchased abroad. Survey studies show that European wines contain an average of 80 mg/L sulfites just as in the US.
There are a few (very few) winemakers who make wines without adding sulfites. In the US, organic wine must be made without added sulfites. These are unusual because the wine is very perishable and often have unusual aromas from the aldehydes that are normally bound and rended aroma-less by the sulftes. In Europe organic wines are call bio- but sulfites are allowed in production, but not in those exported to the US. The term "natural" winemaking is used in Europe for no-sulfite-added wines. Look for these wines at natural food stores.
There is no medical research data showing that sulfites cause headaches! There is something in red wine that causes headaches, but the cause has not yet been discovered. Refer to the Bakalinsky article above. To avoid these common headaches, try drinking less wine, and drink with food. If you think sulfites are causing your headache, try eating some orange-colored dried apricots, and let me know if that induces a headache. If not, sulftes are not the likely culprit. These bright colored dried fruits typically have 2000 mg/kg sulfites, so a two ounce serving (56 gm) should contain about 112 mg sulfites. It is certainly possible that sulfites cause headaches, but as noted above, there is no data available. Feel free to send a memo to the NIH suggesting this be the target of future research so the question can be addressed.

I get about one note every two months protesting this assertion from individuals who say they get terrible headaches from sulfites. Their experiences may well be true, but anonymous emails cannot be verified and tested, rendering them useless in advancing a valid understanding. I have offered to post their stories if they are willing to verify their identities (to me) and let me compile them in a list for a future research investigation. Unless the sufferers are willing to undergo some actual verification of their affliction by an independent observer, their stories remain heresay. Neither science nor the law is willing to take a stand on such grounds.

So, if you feel that you are so afflicted and you are willing to go on a verified list of potential subjects of a scientific study, please send me a note that includes your postal address, daytime phone, and a statement of your willingness to be a participant in a future study to alwaterhouse@ucdavis.edu. Anonymous letters of complaint will be promptly deleted. This personal information will NOT be posted in the internet. I will keep this in a list for medical researchers interested in such a study. Just so you know, your note will NOT be a legal document and any future study on human subjects will include many more documents explaining the nature of any study in which you may participate as well as the risks, etc., and you will have ample opportunity to back out if you have concerns about the study.


In the US, the law states that

Wines cannot contain more than 350 mg/liter sulfites



Wines with more than 10 mg/liter must have a "Contains Sulfites" warning label





Producers must show levels below 10 mg/liter by analysis to omit the label





Wines must have less than 1 mg/liter to have a label that says "No Sulfites"





This level must be shown by analysis





All wines must carry the label whether made in the US or abroad





Still want to get rid of sulfites? In theory, you can remove sulfites by adding hydrogen peroxide to your wine. I don't recommend it but I mention it only because I keep getting asked how to do this. The correct amount to add will depend on the sulfite level in the wine, an amount you cannot deduce except by chemical analysis. However, for the typical wine at 80 mg/L sulfites, 1 milliliter (~ 1/4 teaspoon) of 3% hydrogen peroxide, the form sold in pharmacies, will remove the sulfites in one bottle of wine. If you want to learn more, there is a study of the reaction between sulfite and hydrogen peroxide in simple water solutions: M.R. Hoffman and J.R. Edwards, Kinetics of the Oxidation of Sulfite by Hydrogen Peroxide in Acidic Solution, J. Phys. Chem. 79: 2096 (1975) Link (http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/archive.cgi/jpchax/1975/79/i20/pdf/j100587a005.pdf) Hydrogen peroxide has been used to remove sulfites from cucumbers and dried fruit. Ozkan, M; Cemeroglu, B. 2002. Desulfiting dried apricots by hydrogen peroxide. JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE 67 (5): 1631-1635. McFeeters, RF. 1998. Use and removal of sulfite by conversion to sulfate in the preservation of salt-free cucumbers. JOURNAL OF FOOD PROTECTION 61 (7): 885-890.
Every 5 years or so a M.D. asks me if I want to collaborate on wine headaches, but there is no funding for such research. So, if anyone wants to support a Master's student research project on the topic of wine headaches ($50K) we can start to investigate.
Not sure if I know what I am talking about. A story in the WSJ (http://www.wsj.com/articles/wine-headache-chances-are-its-not-the-sulfites-1426250886)by Lettie Teague.

Updated slightly December 2015

Andrew L. Waterhouse, Copyright 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012, 2016

Dadux
05-23-2017, 10:30 AM
Well that is useful. Thanks for the info, Oskar
I have the two reviews cited in PDF by the way. If anyone wants them, pM me with email or something