E221 is a food additive approved by the European Union (EU) and used as a synthetic food preservative to prevent discolouration in dried fruits.
The common name for E221 is sodium sulphite.
E221 is the sodium salt for sulphurous acid and forms sodium sulphate after reacting with oxygen. The liver reduces E221 to sulphate, for excretion in the urine.
Mixing sodium sulphite with alcohol increases the symptoms of a hangover. Added sulphites (E221 – E228) should be avoided if an individual is intolerant to natural sulphites. The chemical has been known to irritate the stomach lining, due to the release of sulphurous acid. E221 also destroys the vitamin B1 content of the food, which is important for a healthy heart and nerves, as well as producing energy for the body.
Examples of food and drink products that sometimes include E221:
- egg yolk products