Unlike conventionally dried fruit, organic dried fruit undergoes a natural drying process. The use of sulphur dioxide is specifically banned. No additives, colours or preservatives are used. And obviously, the fruit used is organic. This might not seem too important until you realize that approximately two thirds of all dried fruit sampled in a United Kingdom Government-led 2008 study was found to contain significant levels of trace pesticides.
Sulphur dioxide – a potential hazard
One potential concern for those suffering from allergies, and particularly for children with asthma, relates to the large quantities of sulphur dioxide routinely used in conventionally dried fruit. Although sulphur dioxide speeds the preservation process and ensures fruit retains its bright (almost fluorescent) colour, sulphur dioxide has been found to be harmful to children, particularly for those suffering from asthma and/or food sensitivities. If you’re keen to avoid sulphur dioxide for health reasons, make sure you read all labels carefully. The presence of Preservative 220 (221,222, 223, 224, 225) is another way conventional food processors legally acknowledge the presence of Sulphur Dioxide within their products. Be vigilant.
In general, organic dried fruit is high in dietary fibre, low in fat and cholesterol, and provides an excellent source of anti-oxidants. While the drying process generally results in a small reduction in water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C, the fat-soluble nutrients such as potassium and beta-carotene are capable of withstanding the drying process and remain in significant quantities.