Salicylates in foods

J Am Diet Assoc. 1985 Aug;85(8):950-60.


To determine salicylate content, 333 food items were analyzed. Foods were homogenized with 25% sodium hydroxide, allowed to stand overnight, acidified with concentrated hydrochloric acid, and then extracted with warm diethylether over 5 hours. The extract was dried and taken up in dilute sodium bicarbonate solution for analysis. Salicylic acid was separated by high performance liquid chromatography and quantified by reading at 235 nm. Salicylic acid standards were used throughout to standardize extractions and analyses. This is the most comprehensive set of data on food salicylates yet published; extraction appears to have been more complete for some foods, giving higher values than those previously published. Most fruits, especially berry fruits and dried fruits, contain salicylate. Vegetables show a wide range from 0 to 6 mg salicylate per 100 gm food (for gherkins). Some herbs and spices were found to contain very high amounts per 100 gm, e.g., curry powder, paprika, thyme, garam masala, and rosemary. Among beverages, tea provides substantial amounts of salicylate. Licorice and peppermint candies and some honeys contain salicylates. Cereals, meat, fish, and dairy products contain none or negligible amounts.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholic Beverages / analysis
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Condiments / analysis
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / analysis
  • Food Analysis*
  • Fruit / analysis
  • Meat / analysis
  • Salicylates / analysis*
  • Vegetables / analysis


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Salicylates