Recall on Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Undeclared Sulfites Pose Serious Health Concerns


Dec. 13 2023, Published 1:35 p.m. ET

A bunch of tomato halves.
Source: iStock

The Gist:

  • Aviator Sundried Tomato Halves are being recalled due to undeclared sulfites.
  • Sulfites are preservatives that must be declared on food packages at certain levels.
  • Sulfites in foods can be life-threatening for people with sulfite sensitivity.
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Sun-dried tomatoes are yummy in salads and other dishes, but did you know that certain varieties of the fruit may contain sulfites?

According to the Healing Gourmet, sulfites are often used as a preservative in sun-dried tomatoes. And if a food product contains more than 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulfites, the FDA requires the amount of sulfites to be declared on the product label, per the Federal Register.

In December 2023, New York-based Global Veg Corp. announced a recall for its Aviator Dehydrated Tomato Halves due to “undeclared sulfites,” per an FDA Consumer Alert. Here’s more on what we know about the recall on tomatoes and what to do if you have the product at home.

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Sun-dried tomatoes and the label of the recalled tomatoes.
Source: Getty Images, FDA

FDA issues recall on Aviator Sundried Tomato Halves.

According to the FDA Consumer Alert issued Dec. 8, 2023, Global Veg Corp recalled all Aviator Dehydrated Tomato Halves Lot#060923/1 packages because of the possibility of “undeclared sulfites.” The tomatoes were sold in 5-pound packages throughout the U.S.

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The sulfites were detected during a "routine sampling" by government food inspectors, the FDA stated. While no one has reportedly gotten sick from the recalled sun-dried tomatoes, they pose a serious health concern for people who are sensitive to sulfites, per the FDA.

“People who have a severe sensitivity to sulfites run the risk of serious or life-threatening reactions if they consume this product,” the FDA stated.

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What is a sensitivity to sulfites?

Sulfite sensitivity affects about one in 100 people, per the FDA via WebMD. While some people with sulfite sensitivities may experience mild allergy symptoms, for others the health condition can be deadly. Severe sulfite sensitivity symptoms include asthma, nausea, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, and seizures, per the Asthma & Allergy Center.

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It may be hard to determine the presence of sulfites in foods, even when declared on the package because they are often listed as other ingredients. According to WebMD, sulfites are found in foods with the following ingredients:

  • Sulfur dioxide

  • Potassium bisulfite

  • Potassium metabisulfite

  • Sodium bisulfite

  • Sodium metabisulfite

  • Sodium sulfite.

A hand holding a bunch of sundried tomato halves.
Source: iStock
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What to do if you have eaten Aviator Sundried Tomato Halves or have them at home.

If you have Aviator brand Sundried Tomato Halves at home, you should return them to the store where you bought them. You’ll get a full refund on your purchase, per the FDA.

If you get sick from eating the recalled tomatoes — or if you are feeling concerned after eating the recalled tomatoes — the FDA recommends you contact your doctor and report the issue to the FDA and Global Veg Corp. For more information on this recall, contact Global Veg Corp at (201) 367-0517.

How to find out about FDA recalls:

According to the FDA website, the federal agency usually issues a recall on food products after manufacturers and distributors issue a voluntary recall on products. You can find out what products the FDA recalled in its weekly Enforcement Reports or by subscribing to its recall alerts.

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