A citizen's research initiative: Detecting sulphites in liquids, mince and sausages

You can buy test strips at cost here


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Please give

  • the date
  • the product (eg beef mince)
  • the shop (eg Woolworths Tuggeranong NSW)
  • the corrected sulphite reading you obtained in parts per million (ppm or mg/kg)


Here are the instructions again in case you have lost your card:

A citizen's research initiative of the Food Intolerance Network

DETECTING SULPHITES (Preservatives 220-228) in liquids, mince and sausages

You have 2 sulphite test strips. Their active end, which you put into the food and don't touch with your fingers, has a small white square on it.

Drinks and liquids: Put two tsp of the liquid into a clean glass.

Mince and sausages: Put 2 tsp of chilled boiled water into a clean glass. Add 2 tsp of meat, taken from the middle of the meat in two different places. Mix thoroughly with a fork to get a sloppy liquid.

Method: Dip the active end of a strip into the liquid for one second, shake dry and wait 30 seconds. Compare the colour of the active end with colour scale on below:

Results for drinks and liquids: The reading you get is the sulphite content in parts per million (ppm or mg/kg). No correction is required.

Results for meat: The reading you get is pink from the meat, so take 80 from the reading and then multiply by 2. A first reading of 80 becomes 0 ppm. A first reading of 180 becomes 200ppm after correction.

Legal upper limits: (Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Code 2005) People react to different levels. A label warning is required above 10ppm (to which some people react) except in beer and wine.

Beer 25

Ice confections 25

Fruit juice and drinks 115

Wine dry 250

Wine sweet 400

Beef mince NONE

Prawns cooked 30

Sausages 500

Cheese 300

Noodles, pasta 300

Biscuit, cakes, pastries 300

Sauces and toppings 350

Sugars and syrup 450

Dried fruit (apricots) 3000

Warning: this test method gives a rough indication of sulphite content but cannot be the basis for any legal claim nor is it intended as medical advice. The Food Intolerance Network and Sue Dengate cannot be held liable for any errors and omissions arising from the performance or use of the results of this test.