Monitoring of sulfites in kebabs and grilled meat
Food additives are substances of known chemical composition, which are not consumed as food, nor are they a typical ingredient of food, regardless of nutritional value, but are added to food with the purpose of improving technological performance and retaining certain sensory properties. Additives widely used in the food industry include sulfur dioxide (SO2) and sulfites (E 220 - E 228). Sulfur dioxide and its derivatives are added to food with the purpose of inhibiting and controlling the growth of microorganisms, preventing non-enzymatic browning, inhibiting reactions catalyzed by enzymes, and as antioxidants and reducing agents. The harmful effects of sulfur dioxide and sulfites are most often associated with allergic reactions from food, so it is necessary to provide consumers with information about their presence in food, even when they are found in very small amounts, because even then the possibility of an allergic reaction is not excluded. This research was conducted with the aim of determining the amount of sulfites in meat products in the period from 2019 to 2022. Altogether, 128 meat product samples were analyzed of which 53 were kebabs and 75 were meat for grilling. After testing, the mean levels of sulfur dioxide and sulfites in positive samples expressed in mg/kg were 210.0 mg/kg in kebabs and 110.6 mg/kg in meat for grilling. In conclusion, in most of the tested meat products, the sulfite concentration was below the established maximum permissible values according to national and European regulations.