SULPHUR DIOXIDE effects on birds and humans
Posted by Norma on Monday 5th November 2012 at 20:02:14
185 comments on this post - most recent Monday 6th May 2013 at 21:02:43
For the past month I have been researching nutritionally suitable food that can be fed to Birds, (Parrot’s, Parakeet’s, Cockatiel’s, Budgerigar’s and Canary’s), amongst other species of birds.
I myself feed fresh fruit and vegetables as well as dried fruit and vegetables, as well as seed, legumes and nuts.
In fact the supplier that I have used in the past, had dried fruit in the mix of food that I used to feed my birds. I do not use that supplier anymore.
Did you know that dried fruit usually has SULPHUR DIOXIDE added; this is used so that the fruit keeps its natural colour.
Check out the harmful effects that this can have on humans.
How does sulphur dioxide affect human health?
Sulphur dioxide affects human health when it is breathed in. It irritates the nose, throat, and airways to cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or a tight feeling around the chest. The effects of sulphur dioxide are felt very quickly and most people would feel the worst symptoms in 10 or 15 minutes after breathing it in.
Those most at risk of developing problems if they are exposed to sulphur dioxide are people with asthma or similar conditions.
Although no proper records exist, on the harmful effects on our birds. Some say that it causes aggression, hyperactivity, feather destruction, breathing problems etc.
I have been in contact with a lot of suppliers here in South Africa of dried fruit, and 90% of them use sulphur dioxide.
Typical Sulphur Dioxide process;
Fruits are affected with sulphur dioxide (so2) or meta bisulfate to keep them from oxidizing during and after the drying process. (SO2 is also used in bleaching materials and as a fumigant.) This preserves their original color. Fruits are sulphured by putting them into a room in which the mineral rock sulphur is burned to produce sulphur dioxide gas which permeates the fruits. Another method used is to mix sodium bisulfite into water. It will release sulphur dioxide, which will then penetrate the surface of the fruit to discourage oxidation and enzymatic browning. Fruits that are typically sulphured are Orange Apricots, Light Brown Calimyrna Figs, Cantaloupe, Crystallized Ginger, Golden Raisins, Mango, Papaya, Peaches, Pears, Pineapple.
Another problem is dried fruit with added sugar. Fruits have a natural sugar content that gets sweeter as the sugar content is concentrated during the drying process.
Excess sugar can cause your bird to have digestive problems that will make your bird very ill.
Typical Infused Sugar process;
The fruit is cut and peeled then placed in a tub or large container. Water is heated and as much sugar as possible is dissolved into the water. The tubs of fruit are then covered with the sugar syrup and let set for around seven days. During this time the sugar water exchanges with the lower viscosity water in the fruit and the water from the fruit is thereby extracted. Once the fruits are partially dried this way then they are air dried to complete the drying process. Fruits typically dried this way are blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, ginger, mango, papaya, pineapple and strawberries.
It has been a costly exercise, with phone calls and paying for samples to be delivered to me.
I have ordered and bought from 3 well known suppliers, a range of their dried fruit. Only one of them actually had the packets marked that the fruit had sulphur dioxide preservative added.
I just need to find the 10% of organic suppliers that DO NOT USE SULPHUR DIOXIDE, or SUGAR ADDITIVES
IF anyone knows of a supplier who has dried fruit with no Sulphur Dioxide or no added Sugar PLEASE CONTACT ME.
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