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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

TBHQ and other rancidity inhibitors

What Is TBHQ?
TBHQ, like many food additives, is used to extend shelf life and prevent rancidity. It’s a light-colored crystalline product with a slight odor. Because it’s an antioxidant, TBHQ protects foods with iron from discoloration, which food manufacturers find beneficial.

It’s often used with other additives like propyl gallate, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). BHA and TBHQ are usually discussed together, as the chemicals are closely related: TBHQ forms when the body metabolizes BHA.

Where Is It Found?
TBHQ is used in fats, including vegetable oils and animal fats. Many — if not most — processed foods contain some fats, so it’s found in a wide range of products. For example, snack crackers, noodles, and fast and frozen foods. It’s allowed to be used in the highest concentrations in frozen fish products.

But food isn’t the only place you’ll find TBHQ. It’s also included in paints, varnishes, and skin care products.

The Possible Dangers
So, what are the potential dangers of this common food additive? Research has linked TBHQ and BHA to numerous possible health problems.

According to the Centers for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a well-designed government study found that this additive increased the incidence of tumors in rats. And according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), cases of vision disturbances have been reported when humans consume TBHQ. They also cite studies that have found TBHQ to cause liver enlargement, neurotoxic effects, convulsions, and paralysis in laboratory animals.

Some believe BHA and TBHQ also affect human behavior. It’s this belief that has landed the ingredients on the black list of the Feingold diet, a dietary approach to managing attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Advocates of this diet say that those who struggle with their behavior should avoid TBHQ.

How Much Do I Get from My Food?
As noted above, the FDA considers TBHQ to be safe, particularly in low amounts. However, some research indicates that Americans are getting more than they should.

An evaluation by the World Health Organization found that the “average” intake of TBHQ in the United States. to be around 0.62 mg/kg of body weight. That’s about 90 percent of the acceptable daily intake. Consumption of TBHQ was at 1.2 mg/kg of body weight in those who eat high fat diets. That’s a whopping 180 percent of the acceptable daily intake.

Avoiding TBHQ
Whether you manage the diet of a child with ADHD or are just concerned about eating a preservative tied to possible health risks, getting into the habit of reading labels can help you avoid TBHQ and related preservatives.

Watch for labels that list:

  • tert-butylhydroquinone
  • tertiary butylhydroquinone
  • TBHQ
  • butylated hydroxyanisol

TBHQ, like many questionable food preservatives, is found in processed foods meant to withstand a long shelf life. Avoiding these packaged foods and opting for fresh ingredients is a surefire way to limit it in your diet.


BHT banned in food in the UK, Japan, Romania, Sweden, and Australia.


Shocking US vs UK versions of various processed foods. Vani Hari.


Unfortunately there are numerous variations of similar oil preservatives that are working their way into our food system. These also include versions that are added to give the processed food producer the ability to claim that their product is loaded with "omega-3" - a new advertising gimick. Foods that are not 100% made in nature and eaten as fresh as possible are all potential targets for the processed food industry. "Stabilized blend" is industry code for a patented combination of preservatives like phenolic compounds and trans fats.

BASF: http://www.performancechemicals.basf.com/ev/internet/lubricants/en/content/lubricants/products/antioxidants/irganox_l_101

GILLCO: http://www.gillco.com/pr_antio-phenolics.php

DUPONT: http://www.danisco.com/product-range/antioxidants/grindoxr/

CARGILL: http://www.cargillfoods.com/na/en/products/oils-shortenings/ingrevita/applications/index.jsp

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