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Why did this photo go so viral? The food additive now linked to major allergies.

Last week, I shared a picture of a popular snack that contains a very controversial preservative and it went absolutely viral. People (like you and me and so many others) care about what’s in their food and it’s a beautiful thing to see so many people sharing this information with those they love on social media. In fact, when a member of my team alerted me about this, I screamed “REVOLUTION!” so loud the house shook. This is a revolution and it can’t be stopped. We are sick of all the untested, controversial and shady chemicals the food industry invents to improve their bottom line. Wouldn’t it be great if they used their fancy chemistry to actually improve our health, instead? Or how about addressing the sudden rise of major food allergies? Which brings me to my point, have you seen the stats on food allergies lately?

  • 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 to figure out what’s going on and I really feel for the parents who live in constant fear that their child will come in contact with something they are allergic to. I know from my own experience with family members who have life-threatening food allergies – it’s one of the scariest things you have to deal with. That’s why I’m really hopeful about some breaking new research coming out of Michigan State University that might finally get to the bottom of what could be triggering some of these serious food allergies.


Cheryl Rockwell, an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University, uncovered during 9 years of research that the common food additive TBHQ (tert-butylhydroquinone) causes abnormal reactions in the immune system that trigger food allergies. She explains that TBHQ negatively affects “T-cells” in the body (which are generally used to fight infections) in a way that promotes 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 just received a large grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to continue her research on TBHQ and its relation to human food allergies. While I highly doubt one single food additive is the cause of all food allergies, this is a move in the right direction. Ingredients are dumped into our food with zero independent or regulatory oversight – some of which trigger very serious allergic reactions and can have other negative effects on our health.

What is TBHQ?

One of my first big restaurant investigations was Chick-Fil-A, in which I found that they used the preservative TBHQ not once – but twice – in their chicken sandwiches as it was in both the chicken and the bun. This sandwich was one of my favorite foods to eat when I was younger, so this really hit home!

You can’t get much more toxic than TBHQ. This 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’s also 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.

Even though TBHQ is technically an “antioxidant” which makes it sound healthy – it’s synthetically created in a lab. Other synthetic antioxidants include BHT and BHA, which the Environmental Working Group says should not be in our food

Journalist Michael Pollan first alerted the masses to this ingredient 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

McDonald’s has since removed the TBHQ. Despite the dangers, the FDA has allowed TBHQ in our food since 1972 and since then it has become so common that you can barely walk down a single aisle in the supermarket without running into products with it left and right.

When the World Health Organization evaluated the intake of TBHQ in the U.S., they found that people who regularly eat high fat foods are consuming 180% of the “acceptable daily intake”.  In other words… WAY too much!

Soon after I consulted Chick-Fil-A in 2012 and raised concerns about the TBHQ, they began testing peanut oil without it in multiple markets – and finally ditched it completely in 2015. They also didn’t replace it with some other toxic chemical, they just took it out. You’ve got to ask yourself, is this ingredient really necessary?

Beware: Avoiding TBHQ isn’t easy because it’s not always listed on the label.

Food companies are allowed to determine whether or not they will put TBHQ on the label, based on a little loophole in our food labeling regulations. If they decide that TBHQ meets the labeling definition of an “incidental additive” then they can just leave it off the ingredient list. Additives are considered incidental if they don’t serve a function in the finished product and are used in insignificant levels (the FDA doesn’t define what “insignificant” means, so that’s anyone’s guess). 

In other words, if TBHQ is used to preserve oil that is an ingredient in cookies, but the amount is considered insignificant and is not preserving the final product (the cookies), it doesn’t need to be listed on the cookie label. Since TBHQ is often used to preserve fats and oils it can be exempt from mandatory labeling as an incidental ingredient in products like crackers, tortillas, and chips.

The same goes for when TBHQ is used to preserve flavor ingredients – the food company decides if it is preserving the finished product (requiring a label) or not.

As a precaution, many companies do list TBHQ on the label though, so keep your eyes peeled! My team recently scoured the grocery store shelves and found it in dozens of really popular products – many of them targeting children.

TBHQ in the grocery store

Snacks TBHQPillsbury TBHQ

Popular Food Brands Guilty Of Using TBHQ:

  • Snacks: Keebler crackers, Cheez-it, Town House crackers, Special K Popcorn Chips and Cracker Chips
  • Cookies: Keebler, Grandma’s
  • Frozen battered fish: Van de Kamps
  • Microwave popcorn (select flavors): Smart Balance, ACT II, Jiffy Pop, Jolly Time, Orville Redenbacher’s, Pop Secret
  • Chocolates: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Butterfinger, Snickers (peanut butter flavor), Ghirardelli Squares
  • Breakfast foods: Pop Tarts, Special K Pastry Crisps, Pillsbury Toaster Scrambles & Toaster Strudels
  • Prepared dough: Pillsbury Grands Biscuits (some varieties) and Crescent Rolls, Pillsbury/Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
  • Frozen foods: Totino’s Pizza Rolls & Pizzas, Tyson Anytizers Boneless Chicken Wings, Hungry Man
  • Noodles: Maruchan Raman Noodle Soup and Instant Lunch, Nissin Chow Mein Noodles
  • Taco Shells: Old El Paso Hard Taco Shells
  • Salad dressing: Hidden Valley Ranch (Fat-free)
  • Fast food restaurants: KFC, Arby’s, Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr., Dominos, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos, and Jack In The Box (per 2013 ingredient list)

This is the picture that went viral on Facebook last week, it has been viewed by over 12 million people and shared over 140,000 times! How many kids around the country are eating Cheez-Its!?


This clearly struck a cord with so many people and drew in a lot of attention! Cheez-It took notice and responded that they are working on natural alternatives to TBHQ – but how many more people have to continue to consume TBHQ before they change it?

2016-08-26_0933 Cheez-it

Cheez-It Response TBHQ

The Industry Is Already Working To Squash This Viral Story

After the Cheez-it post went viral, Snopes took it on to debunk it and wrote that I’m “discredited” citing an article from Food Business News (an industry funded site). My first thought was, huh… why do they think TBHQ is safe to eat? They defend the use of TBHQ and laughingly state that the FDA considers TBHQ a safe food additive… yet the FDA has not been keeping proper watch over our food for decades and they really aren’t doing enough to protect our safety. Why doesn’t Snopes do some real investigating and look deeper?

Do their sources have a conflict of interest? Who pays for Snopes’ advertising? Why do they continually defend the chemical industry and try to derail health activism? As far as I know, the married couple that runs Snopes are not scientists either – and they are just expressing their opinion.

Opinion taken, but I don’t agree! 

The bottom line is that artificial food additives have no nutritional value and present some real risks to our health that are still being studied. Does anyone want to eat risky additives like TBHQ, especially since it’s not necessary? Why subject yourself and your children to that risk?

Food Industry front group hired to defend this chemical

Update (9/12/16): The industry responded with an article on the website “Best Food Facts”, defending the use of TBHQ in our food. They even paid for advertising on Google to spread their message to anyone searching for anything relating to TBHQ and Cheez-It crackers. 
“TBHQ” has been in the news recently. This food additive got our attention when a member of the Best Food Facts team who has young children saw a post on social media. He asked, “What is TBHQ and is it dangerous?”…TBHQ is new to most of us, but it has been used in common foods for decades and helps preserve the quality, safety and nutritional values of many foods we safely enjoy.” –, September 2016
Best Food Facts is run by The Center for Food Integrity – which sounds like a legitimate organization, but is actually a front group for the big food industry who’s mission it is to downplay any public concerns about chemical food additives – such as TBHQ. This isn’t the first time that one of my campaigns caught their attention and they felt compelled to respond: 
“When issues arise, teams are activated to determine how to engage. For example, when Subway responded to pressure from the blogger known as Food Babe and announced it would stop using azodicarbonamide in its bread, an Issues Advisory Team acted quickly to add unbiased, fact-based information to the conversation.” – Center For Food Integrity newsletter, August 2014

Best Food Facts website is run by the food industry – they are not to be trusted.

As a consumer, you need to be aware of these dirty political and media tactics the food industry plays to keep you eating these controversial chemicals! 

The easiest way to avoid TBHQ: Stop eating food that is designed to last for weeks or months.

When you eat fresh foods without additives, you will avoid the toxic concoctions that the chemical industry has created to increase industry profits at the expense of our health. Think about this… the preservatives, colors, flavors, thickeners, and emulsifiers found in heavily processed foods have not been shown to offer a single benefit to human health – so why eat them? 

Synthetic food additives also are not subject to independent 3rd party testing before they are added to our food – the food and chemical companies are allowed to determine the safety for new additives and the FDA isn’t even aware that some of them exist! The system is so broken it’s almost hard to believe. 

Consumer activism has been enormously successful and despite this broken system, we are creating a safer food supply! 

If you want TBHQ removed from our food, please SHARE this post and ask brands to remove it from their products! 

Here are the links to the Facebook pages of these brands:

The major TBHQ offenders are Kellogg’s (Cheez-It, Keebler, Pillsbury, Pop Tarts, Mother’s) and General Mills (Totino’s), Van De Kamps, KFCArby’s, Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr., Pizza Hut, Dominos, and some of the microwave popcorn made by Smart Balance, ACT II, Jiffy Pop, Jolly Time, Orville Redenbacher’s, Pop Secret.

Make sure to contact these companies directly and ask them to remove TBHQ – via email, Facebook, and Twitter – this has shown to be the most effective way to create change. 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. Margaret Mead

I can’t leave without mentioning that this work comes with a lot of resistance and you may be verbally attacked for sharing this message online. Here is what to do if that happens! 

I love every single one of you who stands up with me in this fight for safer food. You are truly incredible and a force to be reckoned with! 



P.S. If you haven’t joined the Food Babe Army and subscribed to my free email newsletter yet, please do so here! I send my list cutting edge health information, investigations like this one and so much more. 

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89 responses to “Why did this photo go so viral? The food additive now linked to major allergies.

      1. I have often asked, “Wouldn’t it be less costly to the manufacturers if they used less chemicals???? There is no advantage to them using these poisons! Thank you Food Babe for all you do!!

      2. It always goes back to the $$$. Keep sharing this great information with everyone you know (especially on Facebook) and vote with your wallets until it makes financial sense for these companies to stop.

        Dr. Jeff

      3. I want them to stop putting harmful things in are foods!!
        It’s not good for the children!

    1. …When I try to think of how many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups I’ve had every Halloween and my children had every Halloween…all with that chemical in them.
      When I was a child the ingredients weren’t even listed on the label!

      1. When you were a child these killers were not in those foods more than likely.

      2. Yeah Debbie, I miss the good ol days of the govt spraying ddt everywhere….and cocaine being in my coca cola!!

    2. When my children were very young, I had control over what they ate, at least when they were home. Now they are teenagers and one in college. My children were raised know that HFCS, MSG, artificial sweeteners, growth hormones are bad for everyone, including the environment and they do have better eating habits than most of their classmates, but when out or at a party or away at college…they will eat them. There’s not many other food choicest at parties, etc… I feel bad for the children, teenagers and young adults of today. Big Pharma, Big Ag, Big Corps. and the FDA do not care about their well-being, health and development. Not that the junk food when I was a teen was healthy, but the ingredients certainly weren’t as bad as today’s ingredients.

      1. How do you know ? I am so
        Paranoid ! I do not know who to
        WHO ! To relie [RELY ] with? (TRUST)
        Even if that did have existence ?
        Every ONE ! ( WE! Took for
        Granite ). LIE l The ones who WE
        Trusted with ours LIVES ??? LIE !
        We need to come to consensus
        ALL EVIL ! I can not say that a
        religion has any thing to do with
        This ? ( but it does ! )
        Falsification ! Via RECTITUDE
        PLEASE ! Read this over and
        Think about it ?

    1. As written in the post:

      “After the Cheez-it post went viral, Snopes took it on to debunk it and wrote that I’m “discredited” citing an article from Food Business News (an industry funded site). My first thought was, huh… why do they think TBHQ is safe to eat? They defend the use of TBHQ and laughingly state that the FDA considers TBHQ a safe food additive… yet the FDA has not been keeping proper watch over our food for decades and they really aren’t doing enough to protect our safety. Why doesn’t Snopes do some real investigating and look deeper?

      Do their sources have a conflict of interest? Who pays for Snopes’ advertising? Why do they continually defend the chemical industry and try to derail health activism? As far as I know, the married couple that runs Snopes are not scientists either – and they are just expressing their opinion.

      Opinion taken, but I don’t agree!

      The bottom line is that artificial food additives have no nutritional value and present some real risks to our health that are still being studied. Does anyone want to eat risky additives like TBHQ, especially since it’s not necessary? Why subject yourself and your children to that risk?”

      1. I never use to fact check because they don’t fact check and they are politically one-sided. I use

      1. Snopes is getting a throw back somewhere just like the politicians, crazy world, eat REAL food how hard is that. Its really a no brainer, there is a healthier version for all foods. I will say more expensive though which is sad, I only eat real food mostly organic (even those aren’t always safe) and organic proteins from our local farmers. I buy organic off the dirty dozen list and the rest regular. East smart people, our poor country and children and grandchildren are going to pay the price someday ugh

  1. Vani,
    The way I look at it is if it doesn’t have the USDA/Organic label on the package or is raw Organic, then it’s junk food.
    I only buy Organic foods and drink Hexagonal water (distilled water with minerals and coral calcium, using a Vitalizer Plus machine). Eden Organic popcorn kernels, Simple Truth Organic Trail Mix, Organic kale chips, Organic Yogurt with Organic walnuts and Organic cranberries, Organic dark chocolate, Organic bananas, Organic apples, this is what I consume when not eating breakfast, or dinner. Breakfast is either Organic :Oatmeal, coconut oil, raw honey, walnuts, cranberries, cinnamon, that is every other day, the other days it 2 eggs cooked in coconut oil, cheese, onions, with one slice of heavily seeded bread toasted, with raw honey, and cinnamon. Organic dinner: 50/50 salad, chopped onions, walnuts, cranberries, kale chips, dressing. Throughout the day Organic green tea and hexagonal water. None of that is junk food. Is it time for dinner yet ?
    So far at the age of 68, I have high blood pressure and what my father gave me, abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is no fun !

    1. Agree,eat a bit different from you but none of that junk in the article,my breakfast is a shake that most people just shake their head at,for the list of ingredients.Take NO pharma drugs,NO vaccines,lots of vitamins,minerals,sprouts,work out with weights twice a week,aerobic twice a week.73 years old with NO ailments that I know of.Keep up the good fight food babe,lots of us were at it before it got necessary and are still fighting the good fight.

    2. uuhhmmm there is no such thing as hexagonal water…. You probably also think that eating ‘non-acidic’ food will also keep your blood pH from getting too low.


  2. I know your article is about TBHQ and its use as a food preservative, but you state the easiest way to avoid it is to “stop eating food that is designed to last for weeks or months.” What about “organic” milk (Horizon or Organic Valley)? The organic milks have an expiration date of at 4-6 weeks out from when you purchase it. What’s in organic milk that makes it last so long without going bad? I make my own nondairy milks for everyday consumption, but I use organic milk for frothing to make my lattes because nondairy milks won’t froth! Thanks for your time and effort in food activism!

    1. Carolyn,
      Please know that the printed “date” on milk is really a “sell by date”, and milk is usually still good for a few days after that. Milk should last up to 7 days past the sell-by date if properly refrigerated or it can be frozen.

      The only food products the federal government regulates with regard to dates are on infant formula and some baby foods.

  3. Please do a story on the poison that is Flaming Hot Cheetos. The guy who came up with the idea is poisoning his own people. But he’s gotten rich off underprivileged , uneducated, lower income families who buy this poison (artificial food dyes and red and yellow food coloring) for their kids and later wonder whu kids are hyperactive.

  4. it would not be the first time that snopes has disagreed with something questionable. I thought microwaving plastic was possibly bad.. at this point I’ve discontinued and only use glass in my house. There’s just something not right about the plastic getting hot and being right next to my food. Now I’m not a scientist.. I’m just saying. But snopes denies???

  5. Trash, chemicals, poison, junk, etc, added to industrial food doesn’t is a sorprise anymore. It is getting worst! At the beginning, I used to be mad for all these incredible and unbelievable ingredients when I noticed. I have a son under autism spectrum and its incredible to see how he is doing well since we change his and my family’s diet too. No one control this, so is just us against a multitrllion business, that doesn’t care about consumers health. The only thing that the food industry is looking for, is our money. The ethical behavior of that industry is gone. We have to protect ourselves and protect others by sharing articles, news and information about evil things happening around us.
    Thank you Vani! Pls any step back, keep going..

  6. Keep chemicals out of food! Including Folic acid……this is NOT a natural form of Folate which we need but a man made chemical! It’s on the same food labels along with TBHQ and does the same job, artificially preserving our food. If you have the MTHFR gene it’s like poison to you especially .
    I wish MSU would investigate this also! Thankyou Foodbabe for trying to change the food system!

    1. It boggles my mind that the FDA is so broken; that Europe is so far ahead in getting these ‘ingredients’ out of food. But I believe you need to look into Citric Acid. It’s made in China and throughout our food chain. Disgusting.

      Keep up the good work!

      1. And Russia is further ahead than Europe. In Russia the believe in nutrition and avoiding pesticides. No GMOs, no microwaves, no roundup ready, etc, etc. When Russia begins becoming a major non-GMO exporter and begins winning the old cold war again, maybe then America will learn the error of its ways. I hate to imagine the cost to global stability.

        Another way of looking at it is to understand the wisdom that my mother gave me as a child in the 1950s. She would say that an acorn has a lot of nutrition because you can see what a big and strong tree grows from that acorn. And acorns are just an example of any seed. If we want real nutrition we need to eat real food.

        Shakespeare had his witches scene in Macbeth. Eye of Newt, etc. There is a lot of nutrition in fish heads, grinding up avocado seeds and any other organic seed (which is any seed that has not been contaminated by modern companies or their pesticide poisons) – I regularly make my own concoction of a “tea” – I brew several regular teas, but add organic wheat grass, any form of seaweed that I find, some bark from una de gato – a tree from Peru, some organic Indian teas, seeds from Kambucha squash or other vegetables, I smash up some cherry pits or other seeds that are very hard, and lots of other miscellaneous ingredients (such as plantain peals, yerba mate tea (from South America) – I brew all these ingredients together, then double strain them so I just fill most of a large tea cup with the beverage, then I add some spices like cinnamon and I add about 20% up to 50% of grass-fed milk/kefir/colostrum. This gives me a lot of nutrients that haven’t even been studied very fully yet. I get colostrum/milk/kefir from a farmer, not a store. With research about where to buy raw milk, you can find local suppliers who distribute the quality of farm products that you want to buy.

        There are so many toxins in our modern world – it is not surprising that autism, cancer, diabetes, obesity, inflamation, and so many diseases are increasing dramatically.

        So don’t eat sugar or artificial sweeteners. Avoid most grains. Buy produce that grows without pesticides very well – lots of good vegies, squashes, yams, papayas from Latin America, cold water fish that are wild caught (fish farms feed their fish very questionable feed pellets), especially fish that are low on the food chain. Supplement with good quality supplements. Dabble in having good relationships, being connected with God, helping people, interacting with and/or teaching people, get proper sunshine, donate blood, proper exercise – it will be impossible to identify exactly which thing you are doing will be the thing that prevented some disease or promoted your well-being. But the net effect of doing lots of healthy activities will lead to much healthier and happier lives.

        Thanks to Vani for exposing so much wrong with our food system, and creating lots of changes. So many people don’t take time to learn how to eat real food.

    1. On one hand, I hear you. But then am I happy she’s not vegan for the sake of making healthy eating literally “digestible” for a majority of people. Just you look at the toxic heap of vegan-friendly junk food out there, or witness the incredibly toxic vegan wars on YouTube… Yikes, yikes, yikes.
      P.S. For vegan, there’s always the wonderful Kris Carr. Not everyone has to be vegan until of course it’s a “Vegan 1984″…

    2. Jane – I actually prefer to eat organic vegan, but I also allow flexibility in my diet to enjoy the occasional pizza with real cheese (vs. the fake processed vegan stuff) and sustainable, humanely raised meat and seafood. I talk about my diet in my book The Food Babe Way and why I don’t like to label myself anything other than plant-based – because the majority of my diet is just that – a TON of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains! I also love to travel and eat like the locals in various countries – and that means trying a lot of foods that aren’t vegan.

  7. we should not be exposed to chemicals in our food they are dangerous as I have heard doctors say as well as some expert scientists say . Our bodies do not digest chemicals healthy food is what our bodies recognize as nourishment. If we try to feed our precious vessels chemicals our bodies develop disease and our immune system will break down. Where is the commum sense of people today. Don’t let the food industry call the shots for you and your health you need to take control. I don’t listen to anyone that trys to sabatoge my health.

  8. I have a love/hate relationship with you, Vani.

    I love to know what’s being in put in my food but I hate when you ruin my fave snacks by reminding me about how bad they can be. Perfect example: Cheez-its! I love those little suckers. Yes, I will probably live longer for not eating them anymore…but now i have to live longer without eating them. LOL

    E :p

  9. Why would anyone buy any of that garbage along with eating any fast food places??? My children are over 40 and have not entered a fast food place yet

  10. GMO causes food allergies (and I found this out the hard way).
    The time line fits perfectly.

    Now eat GMO free and organic for past 6 years.

  11. I am so thankful that there are people like you who care enough to stick it to the large toxic food corporations and expose them for the greedy, uncaring bastards they truly are THANK YOU! ?

  12. There are many healthy snack alternatives. I used to eat hot cheetos like a maniac when I was younger, but little did I know it was laden with chemicals. I came across Luke’s Organic Cheddar Lightening bolts and they’re AMAZING. Luke’s sells a bunch of healthy organic snacks. Check ’em out!

  13. I’ve been watching the reports Snopes puts out for years and I truly think they are being funded by those they are protecting. They’re wrong on almost EVERYTHING, in my opinion. What they REALLY seem to be is Truth Killer.

  14. I agree with Vani and I am behind her 100%.
    She is stepping out and taking on these big companies to make a mark. These companies have had it their way for much too long. We need to look after ourselves because of the poor way the Government is looking after Healthcare. It’s awful!! My Kashi cereal I won’t buy anymore because Kashi has been bought by Kelloggs, without public knowledge, and I am not going to risk the possibility that it might not be as good now as it used to be. I am Canadian and buy Nature’s Path Organic or Jordan’s, which is UK, non GMO and natural. I don’t buy packaged, bottles (unless it is Organic), or very much fast food. We have alot of homemade meals at home which are better.
    Had the eczema 10 years ago, and certainly don’t want to experience that again. I believe brought on by parabens in hair colour, which I found out today that parabens can affect the endocrine system, which I have had issues with for 40 years! Parabens are found in super abandance in skin creams, hair colours, etc.
    Paraben is like a bleach. On my skin?? No way! EVERYTHING we put on our skin or on the surface goes in the body, and then finds a spot to attach itself to or settles in the body somewhere. I now use virgin coconut oil which works for just about anything on the skin, plus it is good to cook in. It also makes you look younger! Is good for mosquito bites, rashes, skin cream, and I love it.
    When we eat or consume organic food it will generally move any substance that shouldn’t be there out of the body. It makes us healthy! Example my eczema problem. Within 6-8 weeks I was over the eczema with organic food, fish oil and honey. Listen to FoodMatters from YouTube. Some real eye-openers there.
    I could go on all day, but I don’t want to steal the spot for someone else.
    Hope this is helpful!!
    Go for it Vani. Be encouraged today. We are behind you.

    Your Friends, Jane.

  15. Thank you for doing the investigation and alert of this and other chemicals in our food supply. What really bugs me the most is that these horrible companies do not even have to list all the dangerous and harmful chemicals among the ingredients! They do not have to! What a joke and what a shame!
    So how can we be sure that the company will take it out and not just delete the TBHQ as an ingredient!? We would never know! Just as we do not know how many other products are out there with TBHQ without listing it as an ingredient! People wake up! Even organic food contains chemicals! Unfortunately, it is a big battle and we are not protected! It is a scandal that most people do not care and do not try to stop this madness! It is very sad that the food companies are making us sick! Plus the government, like the FDA, works against the citizens and have no accountability at all! This is a nightmare, folks!

  16. I contacted Ghirardelli this evening after reading your article asking them to remove this chemical from their products.

  17. Keep going Vani and give them hell. I cleaned up my pantry and diet completely(LCHF)about 6 months ago. I try to eat virtually no processed foods. I like to see you take on the corrupt sick and messed up food industry. I think it is great to force these conglomerates to clean up these processed foods (as much as you can) but I hope more people just stop eating and buying the garbage. I will add that even healthy labeled “Organic” products (you probably have featured this in the past) are also full off junk – soy lecithin , and loaded with sugars (at least not HFCS). It is no coincidence that we have a hockey stick increase in modern diseases due to diet and chemical foods.
    Snopes will join the trash heap of other main stream bought off media that ignores science and truth.

    1. The rapid increase in disease prevalence cannot be attributed to diet alone. There are so many other factors at involved. To solely blame diet and “chemicals” is a gross over simplification.

  18. In my cooking experiments, I discoverd that the ‘cheeze-it or Ritz cracker flavor is a blend of cheddar cheese and curry. Obviously, that’s not what they are using. That may be the way the flavor got started.
    Make your own muffins, crackers, or even bean dip with these two flavors, and you got that same taste.

  19. I’m curious to know what peer reviewed, scientific sources you have to support your claims. I would like to read them for myself. And one minor correction, it should be toxicants, not toxins.

      1. Well, you obviously censored my first comment to this reply by not posting it, so let’s try this. Two of your references were peer reviewed scientific articles. Do you have any additional peer reviewed scientific articles which support the position you posit above? With the two you have given, your position is very tenuous, in my opinion.

      2. Obviously the double blind placebo idiots come out of the woodwork. Especially after 70% of the DBP studies in medical papers have been found to be irrepreducible, meaning they were corrupt or fake. Does anyone really believe that 50 years from now we will be spraying chemicals on our crops? Look up professor Elaine Ingham to see how soil biology produces more without any herbicides or insecticides. TBHQ is just another in a long list of additives and GMO’S that will soon vanish. As to the damage they have done or could do look up klebsiella planticola debacle, or the flvr savr stomach eating tomato, or the tryptophan gmo product that killed people. That’s all we need to know about their “safety” studies.

      3. Steveo, I’m curious where you get your 70% from. As my research involves DBPs (Disinfection By-Products) I am curious if this is just some BS number, as I suspect, or if there are legitimate sources behind it. As for Elaine Ingham, I think her credibility is minimized as a consequence of her work involving K. planticola. She has had to backtrack in her statements regarding the destructive potential of this bacteria ( Interestingly, her original claim related to this bacterial species was never published. Infact, she claimed it had been published, but the reference was later found to be faked. The single article which was published related to K. planticola was a specific soil and crop type. To reason that a single example would lead to global crop destruction is just ludicrous.

  20. Can you write something about gelatin?
    I am a family dr who has recently developed a serious allergy (anaphylaxis) to beef and pork. This allergy extends to include even small amounts of gelatin which I am discovering is added to so many of our foods and supplements/medicines. I really did not understand what comprised this disgusting substance until one of my Muslim Syrian refugee patients politely declined my offer of free calcium chews and politely explained how gelatin was made. Thank goodness for her! I didn’t understand why my throat was constantly feeling swollen but quickly realized that I was having an allergic reaction to my vitamins meant to keep me healthy.
    Beef and pork allergy is now the 9th most common food allergy. I’ll bet it has something to do with all of the gelatin that we are adding to our food. I wonder how many people would really want to eat things containing cow and pork bones/brains/remains! It’s actually quite disgusting and completely dangerous to me. I think that there is a HUGE story here. I hope that you can undertake this issue. I’m sure this allergy will become more widespread in the future. This allergy has changed my life significantly. I have never had any illnesses (l’m 51 years old) and no one in my family has ever had any type of allergy or immune condition. I hope that others don’t become affected also.
    Thanks again for considering the issue of gelatin in food.

  21. PROCESSED FOODS? What can I say. Another story about how soda erodes tooth enamel. It took a couple of weeks immersed directly in the soda but teeth last thousands of years immersed in soil so that soda stuff is very telling.

  22. Is TBHQ added to USDA organic precooked packaged grain products like quinoa and rice? Thanks for all you do Food Babe?

  23. We have nothing to lose but our daily healthy habits. You are the best source for all America …… thanks …..

  24. Thanks again, Vani, for your forthright, courageous and candid report and advice. I live in Europe and all is not as wonderful in the food industry as americans might think. Even in certified Bio-products we have toxic ingredients. The German goverment has not yet to ban Glycosophat completely. Asparatam is still prevalent in so many products. The europeans unfortunately love to go to McDonalds and Subways which keep sprouting up all over the place. There is a lot of work to be done and you are truly one of the very few people that I admire because you make no compromises. I am also that kind of person and many friends and family find me too extreme, but they wonder why they are ill so often, can’t lose weight etc.. True honesty is very hard to find and I am certainly a soldier in your army…..just not in the same country.
    Keep up the good work.
    Jennifer from Germany

    1. According to Wikipedia Vani has a degree in computer science from UNC at Charlotte. As far as I have been able to deduce she has no additional credentials as a nutritionist, biologist, biochemist, chemist, toxicologist, etc.

      1. You don’t need to be a scientist to find the truth. This is common sense stuff!

      2. Credentials……for real as if that would place any high mark for credibility these days… fact, we should be weary of people like you along with the corporate executives and CEOs of this world who do more to messed up their credibility by trying to fool us into thinking food preservatives are “fine, safe” bla bla bla. The FDA are full of people with “credentials” same ones who allowed and approved nicotine, sulfites, trans fat, TBHQ, etc. etc. etc etc. How about you feed yourself a diet of these preservatives and see what credentials you’ll come out with. Like Maggie said, it’s common sense stuff or it’s about the health stupid!

  25. I did some digging into this (really only took 5 min). At low levels this compound has several reliable sources citing it as having cyto-prototective (cell protecting) properties and at high doses has cyto-toxic properties. Did you check the concentrations TBHQ in any of your analyses? Many potentially toxic compounds exhibit this type of behavior, like water for example, when you are exposed to too much of it. Looking at the structure it has many similar properties to compounds already in your system naturally.

    Please check out this link:

  26. I he a severe allergy to sulfites which are in so many food products, some naturally. I try to avoid them, but occasionally find them in something I am not aware of. Do you know if there is any correlation between sulfites and BHT (used to preserve) or TBHQ? Whenever I eat cereal (some of which BHT is added)
    I begin to feel some of my symptoms. Thanks!

  27. The snopes couple aren’t a couple. I believe just the man is running it. Snopes get calls from the actual company that is being targeted to debunk stories so they don’t lose business. So if you wanted to know who well now you know. Honestly! Don’t worry about snopes!!! You are doing a awesome job at getting the food safer one step at a time:)

  28. This vile ingredient is also used for embalming…this is the grosses thing ever…I threw away crackers and a host of foods I had in the pantry…I will read the labels for this gross vile ingredient that this wonderful deceiving greedy country that is killing us slowly ….sad…thank u food babe for the alert…

  29. So glad you posted this!! I recently had a run in with TBHQ. My son’s Pre-K snack calendar includes a bunch of brands/products that carry this among other questionable ingredients that are NOT invited in our household…Teddy Grahams, Keebler Crackers, etc (you get the gist)…OH NO! I had to make sure that I was allowed to bring in natural/organic alternatives for my son….and I AM! YAY! Now I need to try to get the school to change their snack calendar 😉 SEESH!

    Keep spreading the word Food Babe Army!

    P.S Congrats on your baby bump!

  30. Great work Vani and the Food Babe entourage. . . . leave no stone unturned!!! Fortunately, as more people in this country are slowly becoming aware of the politics that governs-allows for profit this God forsaken practice of allowing toxic food to be sold. These same people are reading/talking and are learning that this type of food is and has been causing havoc. According the World Health Organization, the U.S. is now the 34th healthiest nation. We can thank Congress for passing the Dark Act and you know who signed it into law. The FDA is a worthless governmental gutless technicality allowing toxic substances to be cleared for human consumption. I glanced over your collective pictures of the processed/packages items, from pop corn to candies. To be safe and to rule out so many unhealthy possibilities, too many to track, STOP BUYING THAT TYPE FOOD. If you have any of that so called food, wrap it up and send it to the white house or to your congressman/senator that voted in favor of the Dark Act. Let them eat it! If the food you are holding in your hand is not God Based, leave it alone. Buy organic popcorn . . . Microwave popcorn is one of the most toxic items you can eat. . . Go ahead and send that crap also to the white house or congress. . Commercialized/packaged pizza is one choice you can make OR MAKE YOUR OWN!!! :: All items are organic-period
    1 tortilla -25 cents
    1-2 tbsp of tomato spaghetti sauce -10 cents each
    1 tbsp. plain yogurt (not the no fat junk . . . just another scam) 12 cents
    2-3 tbsp. ‘heaping tbsp.’ shredded cheese- 12 cents
    1/3 chicken breast . . . try cooking in water- $1.32
    Veggies :: chopped
    1 scallion – 10 cents 1/4 small green bell pepper-40 cents
    1/4 red bell pepper-45 cents 2 small white mushrooms -40 cents
    1 leaf of kale-30 cents
    Directions :: Spread yogurt then spaghetti sauce, then cheese, add chicken.
    Sauté chopped veggies for approx. 2-3 minutes max. . . Add seasoning/spices if desired. Please note that the veggies/meat I chose are highly beneficial for my blood type. You can do the math… Buying Organic is NOT Expensive. You will get out of it what you put into it Period. If you think Organic is expensive . . go see your doctor!! The book I recommend to friends, new acquaintances and patients is :: ‘Eat Right 4 Your Type,’ written by Peter D’Adamo ND. One more tid bit that is really important… Drink half your weight in OUNCES every day. Dehydration is a major silent killer. . . It does take time to reach that goal but it is one of the most significant health habits and God given gift to and for anyone that so chooses to make that step forward in obtaining and maintaining radiant health. Eat well. . .be well..
    p.s. ‘Nobody makes an apple like Him.’
    p.s.s. My first cook book is soon to be published . . ‘The Green Hotplate’
    p.s.s. The name of this recipe is,’ Poor Man…Healthy Man.’

  31. Thank you, Vani, for ALL you DO! You are appreciated and I am sure you do not hear this enough.

  32. Hi Vani,
    I would like to know your opinion on Juice Plus supplements and its claim to protect DNA.
    Thank you.

  33. 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.

    The above ‘facts’ were stated in the given article with no resource provided. It would be far more beneficial for your audience if they were given a source to check. It is no secret that not everything found on the internet is true; so, to avoid tarnishing your own credibility it would also be beneficial to include a source. It is also courtious to the origional author to provide them credit when due. You are so very concerned with the public’s health so it should be a breeze for you to also be concerned about an author’s credibility. No one appreciates their work being stolen and it is your responsibility to take caution when using anothers person’s work.

  34. I just sent you information about the Red Robin chain using TBHQ in some of their foods as well as their cooking oil. I sent them an inquiry and they confirmed they do use TBHQ.

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