What would you think if I told you that not all additives and preservatives are listed on food labels? You’d probably say I didn’t know what I was talking about. Well, many chemicals used in food processing don’t seem to make it into print on package labels! One is the synthetic preservative and antioxidant tert-butylhydroquionone (tBHQ) added to cooking oils, nuts, crackers, breads, waffles, fast and frozen foods.
TBHQ is a form of butane gas that’s used in welding or portable gas stoves! According to FDA regulations, 0.02 percent of the total oils in a food can be tBHQ. It’s used in unsaturated vegetable oils and some edible animal fats too. It also is used to ‘protect’ food with iron from discoloration. Frozen fish products have some of the highest concentrations of tBHQ.
There are known adverse health effects from long term, high doses of tBHQ, one being cancer of the stomach. However, a Michigan State University researcher has devoted her work to finding out how tBHQ affects the immune system and causes T cells to release certain proteins which can trigger allergies to common foods like eggs, nuts, shell fish and wheat.
What Cheryl Rockwell, the assistant professor of toxicology and pharmacology at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, wants to understand is why tBHQ causes T cells to release a different set of cytokines (proteins) that trigger allergies rather than triggering normal cytokines.
According to the professor’s research, when tBHQ was present, T cells acted differently.
Rockwell claims there’s a signaling pathway in cells that seems to play a role in causing allergies when tBHQ is present in food. My question for the professor to research further would be, “How does tBHQ interact with other food processing, agricultural and potable water chemicals we also consume that must be processed by the body, especially the liver?” That would be called “synergistic effects” , which no aspect of science seems readily interested in pursuing, especially the U.S. FDA, who should be demanding such tests as part of the approval process. I wonder why!
Another issue tBHQ may contribute to is behavioral problems. Those who struggle with attention deficit and hyperactivity (ADHD) are cautioned to avoid it. But how can they, when it’s not listed on product ingredient labels? That’s where safer and more comprehensive labels and labeling regulations/laws should be required at the FDA. Personally, I’d add that children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) also stay away from as many additives, preservatives and sugars, especially low calorie synthetics, as possible.
People eating a high fat diet, which includes chips made with oils, obviously get more tBHQ. Here’s a listing of foods/products, which apparently contain tBHQ or other petroleum byproducts:
- Mcdonalds chicken nuggets and french fries have TBHQ.
- Red Robin fast food chain also uses tert-Butylhydroquinone in cooking oil.
- CHEEZ-IT Crackers made by Kelloggs have petroleum products.
- Butterfinger chocolate and Resee’s Peanut butter cups have tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Nestle Crunch has tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Wheat Thins contain petroleum.
- Many brands of Microwave popcorn have Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Pam cooking spray has petroleum by products.
- Aldi products have Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Keebler Club crackers contain petroleum by products.
- Kellogs eggo frozen waffles and many other Kellogg products.
- Taco bell beans and some taco shells have Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Teddy Grahams uses petroleum in products.
- Red Barron frozen pizza has Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Keebler Cookies has petroleum by products.
- TastyKake has Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Little Debbie uses petroleum products.
- Kellog’s Pop-Tarts – Keebler has Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Girl scout cookies contain petroleum by products? Not all of them so better off checking before buying.
- Homestyle Peanut butter cookies has Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Some forms of soymilk have petroleum by products.
- Different breads cereals and crackers could contain Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Crisco oil contains petroleum by products.
- Also many restaurants use Tert-Butylhydroquinone when they deep fry. Check the oil ingredients before buying it.
- Some pet foods have petroleum by products in them.
- Many cosmetic products and baby products have Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Lacquers, resins and varnish contain petroleum by products your baby crib that your baby maybe putting his mouth on could contain Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Some hair dyes lipsticks and eyeshadows contain Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Some peanut butter products contain petroleum by products.
- Olive Garden croutons have Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Maruchan soup and Ramon noodles have petroleum by products.
- Wrigley’s gum has Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- Little Debbies nutty bars and some M&M products have Tert-Butylhydroquinone.
- KFC beans and fried chicken contain petroleum by products. 
Notation should be made that some soft drinks can contain tBHQ, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) or butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) . That’s something no one probably considers when guzzling down a cold one—the unknown or unlisted antioxidants in soft drinks!
Another questionable ingredient in some soft drinks is bromated vegetable oil found in Mountain Dew, Squirt, Fanta Orange, Fresca Original Citrus, Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange, and other citrus-flavored soft drinks and sports drinks. [3,4]
“The Loopholes of Food Labeling” may help consumers understand more about why some ingredients are not listed on package labels, but that doesn’t make it biochemically right for the body’s overall health and wellbeing.
Furthermore, consumers need to recognize that we are consuming way too many toxic chemicals in air, food, water, cosmetics, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and booze – all while regulatory agencies aren’t doing very much to protect us. They seem to be corporate lapdogs only too happy to keep approving more and more toxic chemicals.
What’s in your food?
EVALUATION OF NATIONAL ASSESSMENTS OF INTAKE OF tert-BUTYLHYDROQUINONE (TBHQ)
FDA Overview of Food Ingredients, Additives & Colors
Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.
Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.
Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.
Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008)
Catherine’s NEW book: Eat To Beat Disease, Foods Medicinal Qualities ©2016 Catherine J Frompovich coming in Summer 2016