Going Viral: The Food Additive Now Linked to Major Allergies.

Last week the photo below was shared on social media, and it quickly went viral. 

With everyone becoming more aware of food additives and the negative impacts they can have on our health, awareness of dangerous ingredients are a hot topic. 

Allergies in particular are being highlighted as one of the main problems that come from additives. 

Recent research shows that:
  • 1 in every 13 children have food allergies in the U.S. 
  • Food allergies in children increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011. (Yes, 50%!) 
  • Every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. 

Something needs to be done about this allergy epidemic, namely finding the root cause.

Cheryl Rockwell, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University, during her 9 years of study found that TBHQ (tert-butylhydroquinone) causes abnormal reactions in the immune system that trigger food allergies. She says TBHQ negatively affects “T-cells” in the body, cells which fight infections, in a way that encourages the formation of allergies to tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat and shellfish

“Because humans are exposed to tBHQ through ingestion of food, the development of food allergies may be of particular concern. Notably, there has been an increase in reports of food allergy that seems to correlate with the increased use of tBHQ and other phenolic antioxidants as food preservatives.” ~ Cheryl Rockwell, PhD, The Journal of Immunology

Dr. Rockwell has recently received a large grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in order to carrying on researching TBHQ and its possible relation to human food allergies.While it probably isn't one single food additive which causes all the allergies, this is a step in the right direction. 

What is TBHQ?

TBHQ, a synthetic preservative is a form of butane and has been linked to vision disturbances, liver enlargement, childhood behavioral problems, and stomach cancer in animal studies. It is banned for use in food in other countries including Japan, and is on the Center For Science in The Public Interest’s list as one of the worst food additives to be avoided

Journalist Michael Pollan first discovered the dangers of TBHQ 10 years ago in his bestselling book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma:

But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, , an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.

According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. 

Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.” Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.” ~ Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, 2006

TBHQ is now no longer used by McDonalds. Despite the known dangers, the FDA has allowed TBHQ to be in our food since 1972 and since then it has made its way into an incredible amount of foods we eat every day. 

Avoiding TBHQ

Because of a legal loophole in the law, it is actually down to the food manufacturer as to whether they include it on the package or not. If f they decide that TBHQ is simply an “incidental additive” then they can just leave it off the list of ingredients. 

Thankfully, it is often listed so make sure you look at the ingredient list, scarily enough the most common foods it is found in are ones aimed at children, so be extra careful when selecting products for your child. It is most commonly found in:

  • Cookies 
  • Frozen battered fish 
  • Microwave popcorn 
  • Chocolates 
  • Breakfast foods 
  • Prepared dough 
  • Frozen foods
  • Noodles 
  • Taco Shells 
  • Salad dressing 
  • Fast food restaurants 

The image has been viewed by over 12 million people and shared over 140,000 times showing how serious people are about protecting themselves and their children from this harmful additive. Make sure you avoid any item containing TBHQ when you next go to the supermarket.

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Going Viral: The Food Additive Now Linked to Major Allergies. Going Viral: The Food Additive Now Linked to Major Allergies. Reviewed by C C on 14:40:00 Rating: 5
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