I know I am sensitive to preservative 220 (sulphur dioxide), but a few months ago I ate a slice of fruit cake (which I love). As soon as I ate it, my throat felt as if it went down the "wrong" hole and my throat seemed to close a bit. I ended up with a sore throat, cold like symptoms; runny eyes, blocked nose and sinuses, persistent cough, mucus and my ears kept blocking. Oh my face broke out too. This lasted for a week. Recently, I ate a fruit mince pie. The first one tasted great so the next day I had to have another one. Now I am suffering. I have the same symptoms as above and it's been nearly a week. I said to my hubby it was a reaction from 220 but (being the expert he is) won't believe me. I've scanned the internet to see if it's common - to prove a point - but with no luck. Does anyone else have a reaction like this to 220?’

And a reply: I'm responding to an email in the newsletter ("Can you help?" - March 2008) regarding preservative 220. I've had the exact same reaction to eating fruit cake, and also reacted to sulphur-containing eye drops. The first time I reacted my throat felt swollen and closed a bit; the second time I ate quite a bit of fruit cake and my throat closed a lot - felt as if I couldn't breathe. This was followed by sore throat/"cold" symptoms lasting a few days. I haven't pin-pointed it to 220 as I haven't re-tested.