I feel it is only appropriate to start this blog off with the 400 pound elephant in the room - is it possible to test for a sulfite allergy? The answer is yes, but you may have difficulty finding a doctor knowledgeable enough about sulfites to perform the test at confidence level where you feel safe. If you are lucky enough to live near La Jolla, California you should contact Dr. Ronald Simmon of the Scripps Research Foundation who is one of the only experts in sulfite sensitivity. Sulfite testing should only be performed by a doctor, under close observation and in an appropriate setting. You will need to provide written informed consent prior to testing and should construct a Living Will in the event of an emergency.
Sulfite Skin Testing
Two skin pricks (at 1 and 10 mg/ml) are administered. You will be observed to see if there is a consistent spectrum of reaction. If you have a positive reaction they may proceed with an oral challenge.
Double-blind oral challenge with (usually) sodium metabisulfite. You will be observed to see if there s a consistent spectrum of reaction.
A Note of Caution - Delayed Hypersensitivity Reactions
Some people have reported a delayed allergic reaction that occurs 8 - 12 hours after ingestion. If you participate in any sulfite testing you should be under observation for the next 24 hours in the event of a delayed reaction.
The prevailing stance is that the usual adverse reaction to sulfites is almost always asthmatic - but there are exceptions to that rule. If you know that you had allergic reaction symptoms (heart burn/upset stomach/tight throat) after eating something that contains sulfites listen to your body. If you don't think your doctor is taking your concerns seriously - find another one!