||Calcium Bisulfite or E227 is an inorganic compound (synthetic preservative) used in both the wood pulp industry and the creation of certain processed foods and beverages. In food, it is used as a preservative to avoid spoilage by preventing the growth of unwanted microorganisms. It can also be used as a disinfectant and a firming agent. In essence, it is a hydrogenated calcium salt of sulfurous acid (what appears visually as a clear greenish-yellow aqueous solution).
||Calcium Hydrogen Sulfite, Calcium Hydrogen Sulphite, CAS 13780-03-5, Calcium Bisulphite, Calcium Disulfonic acid, Calcium Disulphonate, Calcium Metabisulphite, E227, Calcium Bisulfite, and others.
||Like other sulfites, it is likely made out of or with the help of Sulfur Dioxide.
||Unknown but is possibly made similarly to the Sodium Bisulfite (E222).
||Preservative (synthetic, water-soluble), antioxidant, binder, and stabilizer.
|Acceptable Daily Intake
||It is said to be safe in amounts of up to 0.7 milligrams for every kilogram of body weight daily. But that feels to me like a completely random number given there’s effectively no research to support that number. It is banned in Australia and New Zealand.
||This one literally has zero safety record for consumption, yet it is still approved for use in food, supplements, and medicine. The negative effects are likely that of other sulfites, including Sulfur Dioxide (E220), Sodium Sulfite (E221), and others. Namely, it can likely worsen or cause asthma and gastric irritation, as well as reduce vitamin B and E contents, and cause other allergic reactions.
||Less than 5 studies on Pubmed. No studies on safety.
|Health Knight Assessment
||(Extremely) Likely Harmful. | Category 4 Additive.
||Calcium Bisulfite can be found in such goods as beers, canned fruits, jams, canned vegetables, jellies, and other products. Not common with supplements.
2 thoughts on “Calcium Bisulfite (E227) – Overview, Uses, Side Effects & More”
Hi Matiss, long time fan here. I have never seen this additive listed on beer. Is there a labeling requirement to list it or can the big brewers sneak it in?
Hey, Ian! Awesome to meet you.
I mean, that should be the requirement. It should be listed there. But I don’t think I’ve seen it on the labels of beer bottles either. It would be interesting to do some proper checking at my local store for that.
But here’s another interesting one.
What I also discovered is that apparently, they can use this to wash the beer barrels from the inside to prevent some form of oxidation (so that it wouldn’t become sour, cloudy, or something along those lines). Now, in my mind, what this means is that there’s a high chance that any beer that gets poured out of a barrel, might inherently have this ingredient whether they list it as a part of the ingredients or not.
I mean, to that end, I think there’s a high chance that at least some of the brands that are available in bars have this. A really good question is whether or not they sneak it in there or would you see it on the label if you insisted on sharing the ingredient list. But what also this might imply is that maybe with just regular beer bottles the Calcium Bisulfite is not common (or there’s just no need for it if the beer has another preservative in it).
Either way, I haven’t really looked into as to what other solutions are there that would replace this additive (for example, when it comes to washing those beer barrels).