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Permitted derivative forms of sulphur dioxide are well established proven preservatives and enjoy
widespread use in the brewing, wine and food industries. Added to beer at the normal pH range of
between 3.6 and 4.4 they act as potent bacteriostats/germicides, giving effective prevention of
biological spoilage. In addition to this their antioxidant properties confer increased physical stability
and prolonged shelf life to the beer. This reducing action is also important in achieving optimum
conditions for the action of protease chillproofing enzymes when these are used.
The maximum level permitted for SO2 in cask conditioned beer is 50 ppm. In all other beers only 20 ppm SO2 is permitted (Council Regulation 1333/2008/EC)
Sulphur dioxide and sulphites at concentrations of more than 10 mg/kg or 10 mg/litre expressed as S02 must be labelled as allergenic (European Directive (2003/89/EC)).
This is the most concentrated source of sulphur dioxide and is supplied as a powder which can either
be dissolved in water or added directly:-
• 1.52 g Sodium Metabisulphite per hectolitre