Potassium hydrosulfite (E228)

E228 is a food additive approved by the European Union (EU) for use as an antimicrobial synthetic preservative in foods. Potassium hydrogen sulfite can also be used as a firming agent and as a disinfectant.

There are other names of the additive: Potassium bisulphite, potassium biosulfite, E228, potassium hydrosulfite. Belongs to the group of harmful food additives.

Description of the food additive

E228 is a food-type additive obtained under laboratory conditions. For production, sulfur dioxide and an aqueous solution of potassium carbonate were used, a chemical reaction occurs at a temperature of approximately 100 degrees. As a result, a substance with the formula KHSO3is formed - potassium hydrosulfite. The additive is designed to react exclusively with water-based solutions. Manufacturers buy potassium pyrosulfite (a white, dry, odorless powdery substance), place it in an aquatic environment, and as a result, potassium hydrosulfite is formed. There is another name - potassium bisulfite, in the chemical composition of which there are additional chemical additives. The main feature of the additive is the suppression of bacterial and fungal flora in products. It is due to this feature that the additive is used as a preservative, less often as an antioxidant, color bleach.

Scope of application

E228 most often seen as part of semi-finished products with a vegetable or fruit base, sugary products, natural fruit jams, dried fruits, dried cabbage, dried or canned mushrooms, natural wine. For bleaching effects, it is added to semi-finished products from dry potatoes and to breakfast cereals. Potassium bisulphite can also be found in alcoholic beverages, preventing fermentation and souring processes, while retaining color, taste and smell.

It is forbidden to use the additive in the food industry in the production of: beer, fruit juices, meat, milk and dairy products, flour, baby food.

People who follow a diet should read the information on the packaging as carefully as possible, as often products with this supplement are very high in calories.

The list of products in which this supplement can be found is long. But this does not mean that it is safe for the body. The allowable amount of E228 for a person is 0.7 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

The use of additives in the food industry is permitted in the EU countries, Russia and Belarus. In the US, the supplement is banned. There is no information about the legality of the use of E228 in Ukraine and Canada.

Technological functions

The additive is a powerful antioxidant - a substance that slows down the oxidation process and significantly increases the shelf life of products.

Benefits and harm to the body

The synthetic additive has no biological value, therefore, potassium hydrogen sulfate does not carry any benefit to the body. Let us consider in more detail the harm of this food additive, since it is not in vain that it belongs to the category of dangerous. Most of the population is not at all recommended to eat foods with E228 in their diet. When using the supplement within a certain norm, it is effortlessly metabolized in the body and excreted from it with the help of the kidneys.

Allergic reactions to Potassium bisulphite are common, and people who suffer from chronic bronchial asthma may experience bronchospasm and choking. There have been cases with the development of anaphylactic shock.

At risk are individuals who have sulfide blockage in the production of thiamine pyrophosphate (a vital form of vitamin B). In such people, after entering the body of E228, malfunctions of the digestive and nervous systems develop.

It is also contraindicated to use products with this synthetic preservative for people with severe gastrointestinal diseases.

Main producers

In Russia, potassium hydrosulfite is produced in small volumes. The main Russian manufacturer is the NORD company (St. Petersburg).

For winemaking pure potassium bisulfite is produced by ERBSLOEH GEISENHEIM AG - Germany.

Tianjin Zhentai Chemical Company - China supplies a large amount of the additive in the solid form of pyrosulfite.

Additive packaging

E228 is packaged in plastic canisters with a tight seal. Often you will find a powdered form of the supplement (in the form of peroxide) that comes in tight plastic bags. In order for the manufacturers to get exactly the additive E228, the peroxide powder is diluted with water.


Despite the fact that the additive is approved for use in food products, experts, doctors and nutritionists recommend avoiding products that contain the chemical composition of E228, which is so dangerous for the body.