A Message on the Down Side of Food Additives Like TBHQ from Jane Hersey, Director of the US Feingold Association

Picture Credit: Feingold Assn

THANK YOU for letting people know the down side of food additives!

For more than 30 years the non-profit Feingold Association of the US (www.feingold.org)  has helped people find food that is free of what we consider to be the worst of the synthetic additives (food dyes, artificial flavors and 3 preservatives, including TBHQ).  We have long heard about how "a little bit doesn't hurt" but our sensitive members know otherwise!  TBHQ (and its cousins BHA and BHT) are made from petroleum, and because they are so potent, it only takes a tiny amount of them to do their job....keep food appearing to be fresh, even when it isn't....and to allow restaurant chains to keep frying oil at high temperatures for hours on end, and to use the same oil over and over. 

In 1992 McDonald's switched from an oil that contained beef fat to a new vegetable formulation -- okay so far -- but the new oil had TBHQ.  We learned about it when our members began to report that their children were going bonkers when they ate the fried foods from Mickey D's.  (They previously had no problem with the nuggets, fries, etc.)  So much for the "little bit doesn't hurt" argument!    I contacted the company headquarters and when they took a look at what was in their oil, they verified that it did have the preservative.

Before long, the other fast food chains began using the TBHQ oil, and so did most independent restaurants and restaurant chains.  So, since 1992 folks who wanted to have some restaurant fries were limited to Five Guys and In N' Out restaurants, who use an oil that is free of the preservative. 

Happily, Wendy's has just switched their oil and their fries are now acceptable for Feingold families.  Sadly, their other fried foods (such as chicken) won't be okay since they still have unwanted additives like artificial flavorings.

Jane Hersey, Director
Feingold Association of the US
author of "Why Can't My Child Behave?"
and "Healthier Food for Busy People"

P.S.- I am really glad that you stopped by our Environmental Booty Blog and I hope you have learned or shared a thing or two.  I hope that , now that you've found us,  you won't lose us!  You can join our green living online community, subscribe to our posts download our community toolbar, Tweet with me on Twitter or Come Shop with Me to stay in touch!  - Shane :)

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