The variety of symptoms in diseases produced by the different types of food additives which can be described in relation to the adverse reactions to the additives is very varied according to the type of additive and the adverse reaction in question. It must be taken into account that there are two major types of reactions to the additives: allergic and non-allergic.
Main Reactions To Different Food Additives:
Dyes: Adverse reactions to dyes may be very diverse. In some cases, allergic reactions appear as respiratory symptoms (asthma, rhinitis) in the skin (urticaria, angioedema, purple, contact eczema, photosensitization), intestinal manifestations (nausea, vomiting or diarrhea). Other manifestations, or some of the aforementioned ones, may also be toxic or idiosyncratic (individual susceptibility to a drug or food) anaphylactoid (special sensitization of the organism to a substance).
Among all dyes it is possible to mention tartrazine as one of the most used dyes and ingested daily by the general population.
It is estimated that an average urban citizen's diet may contain up to 7.5 mgr. per kilogram of tartrafin. This dye has recently been associated with pictures of urticaria, rhinitis, bronchial asthma, vascular purple, contact dermatitis, including disorders of hyperactivity in some children. Of all undoubtedly, urticaria is most often referred to by all authors. The incidence of these adverse reactions has also been seen to be more common in asthmatic people or people allergic to aspirin. Other dyes that can give urticaria or bronchial asthma are erythrosine, red cochineal, curcumin, cochineal carmine, patent blue or urucum.
Main Reactions to Different Food Additives
Preservatives and antioxidants: Among them, sulfites are commonly used since Roman times for wine conservation. Currently, they are added to foods, beverages in solution and suspension and in the disinfection and fermentation of certain products. It is possible to find in wine, beer, vinegar, citrus drinks, coffee, tea, caramels, chocolates, preserves, some fresh vegetables, such as lettuce and frozen, on the surfaces of hams or foods made to flour base like biscuits, bread, pastry, etc., seafood and fish in general, nuts and nougat.
Many authors have described adverse reactions to sulfites, being the most frequent allergic reactions of respiratory or skin type, as well as gastrointestinal. In some cases, there was conjunctivitis, blood pressure reduction and headaches after sulphite ingestion, although no doubt the bronchospasm and fatigue crisis are the most common reactions. Also in these cases individuals with asthma are especially susceptible to such reactions.
Among the preservatives and antioxidants, benzoates are also used in the preservation of wines, alcoholic beverages, ciders, syrups, jellies, fruit juices, yogurt, jams, chewing gums, nougats, prepared salads, canned vegetables, olives and margarines, sauces, cheeses, pastries, cakes, anchovies and seafood, surfaces of hams, etc.
The structure of the benzoates is similar to that of aspirin and, however, in this case, a cross-reaction with the same was not found. Following sulfites, preservatives are most often implicated in adverse reactions, with rhinitis and asthma being the most common diseases. Less urticaria, abdominal pain, contact eczema, migraine and purpura may occur.