Unsafe Preservative (TBHQ) in Your Food

Have you noticed that as our food industry grows, so does chronic non communicable diseases? Food allergies are at an all time high especially in our children.

We would love to believe that the advancements in technology would lead to the healing of our nation rather than its deterioration, but this is not necessarily the case when it comes to food additives.


Tertiary-butyl  hydroquinone (TBHQ)….

Have you ever seen this on the list of ingredients?

TBHQ is a food additive that is used to protect against deterioration caused by oxidation, such as fat rancidity and colour change; basically it is added to food to improve its shelf life.

Due to this characteristic, TBHQ is considered an antioxidant. Antioxidant…

Sounds natural and healthy right? Well, not in this case as TBHQ is synthetic and made in labs.


What foods contain TBHQ?

If it contains fats and oils, is processed and have a long shelf life, there might be TBHQ in it. Here is a list of foods and brands that contain TBHQ:

  • breakfast foods: Pop Tarts, Special K Pastry Crisps, Pillsbury Toaster Scrambles, Toaster Strudels
  • cake mixes/prepared dough: some varieties of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits and Cresent Rolls, Pillsbury/Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll
  • cereal based snacks such as chips, tortillas and popcorn: Special K popcorn chips, Smart Balance, Act II, Jiffy Pop, Jolly Time, Orville Redenbacher’s, Pop Secret, Old El Paso Hard Taco shells
  • chewing gum
  • dehydrated meats
  • dehydrated potatoes – flakes and mashed
  • shortening
  • other snack foods: Keebler crackers, Cheez-It, Town House crackers, Special K cracker chips, Keebler cookies, Grandma’s cookies
  • ready meals/frozen foods: Totino’s Pizza Rolls & Pizzas, Tyson Anytizers Boneless Chicken Wings, Hungry Man
  • Sauces: Hidden Valley Ranch (Fat-free)
  • processed nuts
  • frying oil and frying fat with the exception of olive pomace oil
  • sausages, poultry and meat products
  • Van de Kamps frozen battered fish
  • microwave popcorns

In 2013, KFC, Arby’s Dominos, Pizza Hut, Hardee’s, Jack In The Box, Carl’s Jr. and Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tocos all contained foods that had TBHQ as an ingredient. Both McDonald’s and Chik-Fil-A once had TBHQ as an ingredient, but the use has been completely stopped.


Health concerns for consuming TBHQ

Research has shown that when it comes to TBHQ, it has adverse effects on humans’ health. Here is a list of adverse reactions humans have to TBHQ:

  • ADHD
  • Asthma
  • Dermatitis
  • eye problems
  • headaches
  • Rhinitis
  • stomach problems

Studies have also shown that chronic exposure to TBHQ may induce carcinogenicity. In addition, a study by Cheryl Rockwell, an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University, has shown that the consumption of TBHQ triggers an allergic reaction in persons that have consumed it.

What the research shows is that TBHQ triggers a negative response in our T-cells. T cells are generally used to fight infections.

Death has occurred from consuming as little as 5 grams of TBHQ; while nausea, vomiting, delirium, ringing in the ears and collapsing have been experienced from consuming 1 gram of TBHQ.

Due to the adverse effects TBHQ causes on humans, it is banned in Japan, United Kingdom and other European countries.

However, in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the green light on its use.

There is however, a limitation to the amounts used – 0.02% of oils in the product.

Though the recommended usage in food production is relatively low, the fact that it is used in so many processed foods increase our risk, especially that of our children, in developing these condition; the fact we are so busy, and processed foods make our lives so much easier, it is easy to surpass the average daily intake of 0-0.7 mg/kg of body weight per day.

What can we do to avoid TBHQ in our diets?

Here are 3 tips on how to avoid TBHQ consumption:

  1. Read your food labels. Look out for the names tert-butylhydroquinone, tertiary butylhydoquinone, TBHQ and butylated hydroxyanisol.
  2. Avoid processed foods made with fats and oils, especially those that have long shelf lives, as there are times when TBHQ is not listed as one of the ingredients in the products. This happens when TBHQ was not directly used as an ingredient in the final product, but it was used in the oils and fats that were used in the preparation of products.In other words, TBHQ was not an ingredient in… let’s say a brand of cookies, but it was an ingredient in the oil that made the cookies; thus, it will not be listed as an ingredient used in the cookies.
  3. Avoid eating foods prepared using oils from fast food restaurants that are known to be using TBHQ as an ingredient in their meal preparation.


To protect yourself from detrimental effects of TBHQ and other dangerous additives, learn about how to use the #1 nutrient that we’ve been throwing in the trash.


About the Author:

Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice. Learn how you can lose weight fast – How to lose weight by adding these alkaline foods.

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5 responses to “Unsafe Preservative (TBHQ) in Your Food”

  1. Deanna Avatar

    We need to completely revamp the entire FDA! Why are we allowing this to happen in our country? We pay their salaries, they make money from the tax payers and yet they poisonous at every turn.

  2. Paul DeCourcey Avatar
    Paul DeCourcey

    Federal Death Administration; “FDA” is directly caring out Agenda 21, the elimination of 13/14th’s of the worlds population.

    Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars.

  3. Harpreet kaur Avatar
    Harpreet kaur

    Thanks very important information you gave I didn’t know before about TBHQ I am not using that much prepared food but now careful about TBHQ thanks so much

  4. Carol Hostler Avatar
    Carol Hostler

    Why is our FDA so lax on chemicals used in our food production?

    Other countries are a lot more conservative in regards to chemicals in our food chain.

    Are you contacting our government FDA and others that are so lenient regarding chemical and also Modified productions in our country.

  5. Paul Meyer Avatar
    Paul Meyer

    Fortunately for me, I don’t have any appetite for the foods you identified as TBHQ and BHA (add BHT to this, too) contaminated. Thanks for this info. Will continue to avoid these contaminated foods.

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