Residual sulfite levels in retail and food service potato products

Julie A. Nordlee, Laura B. Martin, Steve L. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Sulfiting agents (sulfites) may be added to peeled potatoes to prevent enzymatic and/or non-enzymatic browning during preparation and processing. Addition of these agents results in products with residual levels of total SO2 that may, in some cases, be hazardous to the 100,000-200,000 sulfite-sensitive individuals in the United States. Whole, peeled potatoes treated with a potato whitener according to the manufacturer's directions resulted in a cooked product with low residual SO2. French fry cuts and hash brown style potatoes treated in the same way resulted in products with substantially higher levels of residual SO2. Increasing the concentration of the whitener in the treatment solution increased the level of residual sulfite as did increases in treatment time. A 1985-1987 survey of potato products at the retail level revealed that only a portion of the potato products had been treated with sulfites and that a wide range of residual SO2 levels existed in these potato products. Mashed and hash brown potatoes obtained from restaurants frequently contained detectable levels of residual SO2 Samples from supermarkets with detectable levels of residual SO2 frequently were dehydrated potatoes or products that contained dehydrated potatoes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-67
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Food Composition and Analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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