E222 or sodium bisulfite is a common food additive used as a preservative and anti-oxidant. However questions have been raised regarding whether E222 is halal-compliant.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what E222 is, how it’s made, its health effects, regulations, dosage, and most importantly – if it can be considered halal.
|📌 What Is E222? E222, also known as sodium bisulfite, is a white powder used in foods and drinks to keep them fresh for a longer time.|
|📌 Is E222 Halal? Yes, it can be considered halal if it’s made from sources that follow Islamic dietary rules. E222 is usually made from sulfur dioxide, which can come from different sources, so check the product to make sure it’s halal.|
|📌 Possible Side Effects: E222 is generally safe in small amounts, but some people might be allergic to it and experience symptoms like hives or stomach problems.|
What Is E222?
The E number E222 refers to sodium bisulfite. It has the chemical formula NaHSO3 and is also known as sodium hydrogen sulfite.
Sodium bisulfite appears as a white crystalline powder that is soluble in water and ethanol. It has antimicrobial properties that make it effective for preserving and extending the shelf life of various foods and beverages.
Some examples of products containing E222 are pickled products, relishes, syrups, fruit juices, dehydrated fruits/vegetables, seafood, baked goods, beers, wines, and plant-based meat substitutes.
The chemical structure of sodium bisulfite (E222) consists of a central sulfur atom bonded to three oxygen atoms and one hydrogen atom. The hydrogen is ionically bonded to a sodium cation.
This composition gives sodium bisulfite its ability to inhibit microbial growth, act as a bleaching agent, and function as a reducing agent.
What Is E222 Made From?
Industrially, sodium bisulfite is produced by passing sulfur dioxide gas into a solution of sodium carbonate or sodium hydroxide. Sulfur dioxide is obtained as a by-product of various chemical production processes.
Potential sources of sulfur dioxide include:
- Burning elemental sulfur
- Roasting pyrite or iron sulfide ores
- Burning metals like copper, zinc, and lead that contain sulfur impurities
- As a byproduct of petroleum refining or natural gas processing
So while petrochemical sources are common, sulfur dioxide can also be obtained from elemental sulfur. This means E222 can potentially be suitable for halal purposes.
Possible Side Effects
Sodium bisulfite is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by regulatory agencies. The acceptable daily intake (ADI) has been specified as 0-0.7 mg/kg body weight by JECFA.
But some individuals may experience hypersensitivity reactions that can include:
- Hives, itching, redness
- Wheezing, chest tightness
- Stomach pain, nausea
- Tingling sensations
- Anaphylaxis (rarely)
At very high doses, sodium bisulfite may potentially impact the thyroid gland or cardiovascular system. However, this is only a concern from overconsumption beyond normal food amounts.
Regulations and Guidelines
Sodium bisulfite is approved for use in food products in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the EU, and many other countries. It is regulated under codes like:
These laws restrict the maximum allowed dosage based on the food product, such as 150 mg/kg in baked goods or 70 mg/L in beers.
Dosage and Administration
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has established an ADI for sodium bisulfite of 0-0.7 mg/kg body weight per day. This acceptable daily intake reflects lifetime ingestion that is not expected to pose any health risks.
In products, sodium bisulfite is added at concentrations between 10-350 mg/kg depending on the food type and desired preservative effect. Manufacturers adhere to maximum use levels dictated by local regulations. Proper handling and GMPs ensure it remains within the safe ADI range.
Is E222 Halal or Haram?
The key factors that determine whether E222 is halal include:
- Source – If plant-based methods are used to obtain the sulfur dioxide, it can be halal. But petroleum-derived sulfur is haram.
- Production process – No haram (prohibited) ingredients are involved during the production process.
- Purpose – As a preservative, E222 matches the halal objective of saving food and resources.
In today’s productions, all criteria above are satisfied making E222 halal (allowed) in Islamic dietary law. However careful selection of the final products is important.
In conclusion, E222, also known as sodium bisulfite, is a commonly used food additive with various applications. Whether it’s considered halal or not depends on its source and production methods, and it can be compatible with halal dietary guidelines when certain criteria are met. Always verify product labels and sources to align with your dietary preferences.
Allahu A’lam (Allah Knows Best)
What is the source of E222?
Sodium bisulfite is produced from sulfur dioxide gas, which can come from petroleum refining, burning sulfur, or roasting metal ores containing sulfur. For halal purposes, plant-based sulfur is preferred.
Is E222 safe for consumption?
Yes, in small regulated quantities. Some people may experience allergic reactions, but it is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by health authorities at permitted levels.
What are some common food products containing E222?
Pickled foods, fruit juices, syrups, seafood, baked goods, jams, beers, wines, vinegar, and processed fruits/vegetables often contain E222 as a preservative.
What is the CAS number of E222?
The CAS registry number of sodium bisulfite is 7631-90-5. This provides the unique numerical identifier for E222.
Is E222 banned in any country?
No, E222 appears to be approved for use in food globally. It is legal and regulated with maximum use levels in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries.