Is TBHQ Made From Butane?

It’s a synthetic antioxidant that’s added to foods to prevent or postpone oxidation, according to Dr. O’Keefe. Foods that have been oxidized lose their flavor, color, and can even become hazardous. Furthermore, oxidation causes vitamins to degrade, resulting in food losing some of its nutritional value.

TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) is found in a variety of foods, including crackers, microwave popcorn, butter, and chicken nuggets. “It is not made from butane, it does not contain butane,” Dr. O’Keefe adds, “but it does have a tertiary butyl group.”

More information about the chemical makeup of TBHQ and the erroneous connection to butane may be found on Science Blogs and Livestrong.

What is TBHQ made out of?

The link between TBHQ and butane, a component of lighter fluid, has gotten a lot of attention. In his best-selling book, Pollan referred to TBHQ as a type of butane, but the connection has since been debunked. TBHQ is made up in part of a “butyl” cluster of four carbon atoms. Butyl can be found in a variety of seemingly innocent things, such as butter. Butyl is derived from the Latin word “butyrum,” which means “butter.”


A hydroquinone replaced with a tert-butyl group yields TBHQ. It was FDA-approved for use as a food antioxidant in 1972. 1,2,3

The FAO/WHO Expert Committee approved TBHQ as a food additive in 1998, and the European Food Safety Authority validated its certification in 2004. 1,2,3


TBHQ is a food additive that has been approved by the FDA. However, current consumer demand for natural alternatives to TBHQ and other synthetic antioxidants has persuaded food makers to look for additional natural alternatives. The acceptable daily intake (ADI) of TBHQ should not be more than 0.2 mg per kilogram of body weight. 1,2,3

Commercial production

  • Heating: the solution is heated to between 55 and 65 degrees Celsius (131 and 149 degrees Fahrenheit). The t-butanol is then added and heated for 2 – 3 hours at 75 – 85 oC (167 – 185 oF).
  • Heating at 92 – 95 oC (197.6 – 203 oF): crude TBHQ is combined with acid solution and heated to 92 – 95 oC (197.6 – 203 oF).
  • After the TBHQ solution has cooled to 45 degrees Celsius, it is centrifuged for the second time (113 oF).
  • Filtration: Once entirely dissolved, TBHQ is filtered and allowed to cool naturally so that crystals can form.


In baking recipes, TBHQ is frequently used in the lipid phase. It can be used with other common antioxidants like BHT and BHA, but not propyl gallate (PG). 1,2

TBHQ is extremely effective in lipid-containing food compositions because of the following properties: 1,2

  • To improve its lipid stabilizing characteristics, citric acid or monoglycerides citrates might be added.

Is TBHQ made from petroleum?

Petroleum is well-known as a source of energy for automobiles, planes, and other vehicles. Other uses include lubricating machinery and producing petro-chemicals used in the production of clothing, computers, cleaning products, and more. Did you know, however, that the naturally occurring liquid may also be found in a variety of foods?

Mineral oil is the name given to it in the food sector. Petroleum, unlike its equivalents vegetable and olive oil, does not go rancid. Why? Firstly, because it isn’t a food.

So, where could you find gasoline in your pantry? Continue reading to learn about some of the most typical hiding spots for the contentious ingredient:

  • Petroleum is commonly used in packaged baked products to keep them ‘fresh’ and mold-free. Mineral oil keeps flour, water, egg, milk, and sugar combinations fresh for weeks, but conventional flour, water, egg, milk, and sugar combinations go bad rapidly.
  • Petroleum by-products are used in some chocolates. This is referred to as food-grade paraffin wax.
  • Any product containing Olestra should likewise be avoided. It’s an inedible material with qualities comparable to mineral oil.
  • TBHQ, also known as “tert-Butylhydroquinone,” is a major source of worry because it can be found in a wide range of items. Supermarkets are stocked with TBHQ, which can be found in anything from frozen chicken nuggets and pizzas to rice crackers and cookies.
  • Petroleum-derived compounds are employed in a wide range of food colorings. Everything from corn chips to fresh apples has these.
  • Painkillers and vitamins are often high in petrochemicals, even if they aren’t categorized as “edibles.” They include acetylsalicylic acid, which is the active ingredient in aspirin and other over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Petroleum can also be found in food additives. Oil is used to lengthen the shelf life of canned goods, which is a major source of worry.

While food makers claim that petroleum-derived additives are completely safe, other health experts believe they are extremely harmful. They’ve discovered ties to cancer, ADHD in youngsters, and a slew of other ailments.

Oil firms have been accused of releasing a variety of toxins into the environment, making the business notoriously poisonous. ‘Unconsidered Mercury Emissions from the Oil and Gas Industry’ investigates mercury’s existence and impact on the environment. While natural sources of air mercury including volcanoes, geologic deposits, and ocean volatilization are largely safe, human operations like coal burning, mining, smelting, iron production, medical waste incineration, and other activities are not.

Why is TBHQ banned in Japan?

(Tuesday, April 2, 2008) Shareholders of a Japanese company recently filed a lawsuit against the company’s former president and directors, saying that they caused the company harm by hiding the use of an unapproved food additive in pork buns and continuing to sell the buns’ inventory. A person blackmailed the firm after discovering that the bun component containing the unapproved food additive was used at one of the company’s designated food factories in China, and demanded that the company sign a contract naming his own food factory as one of the bun suppliers. The company’s sales plummeted once the news made the rounds in the media. The previous president and directors were declared liable by the Osaka High Court, and two of them were forced to pay nearly 5.3 billion yen (US$53 million) and the others to pay around 565 million yen (US$5.65 million).

On February 12, 2008, the Supreme Court dismissed both sides’ appeals. TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) is an unapproved food additive that has been accepted as a food preservative in the United States and other countries. The reason TBHQ hasn’t been approved in Japan is since no one has asked for it, not because of any health risks. (YOMIURI ONLINE, Feb. 12, 2008 (on file with author), Dasukin kyû keiei jin 13 nin ni 53 oku en no baishô meirei kakutei.)

Does olive oil contain TBHQ?

The Rancimat test is the most widely used rapid method for determining the oxidative stability of edible oils and lipids. Figure 2 shows the outcomes received for OSI modifications. When different amounts of PKFO were added to unheated pure olive oil, the OSI of the oil samples improved when compared to pure olive oil. The olive oil containing 100ppm of TBHQ (9.51 h) had the highest OSI at t0, followed by olive oils containing 10%, 5%, 2%, 1%, 0.5 percent PKFO, and pure olive oil (8.23, 6.88, 5.87, 5.52, 5.28, and 3.35 h, respectively). During thermal processing, OSI variation in various oil samples showed a downward trend, with the highest drop seen in TBHQ-containing samples. The amount of OSI in pure olive oil and olive oil samples containing 0.5, 1, 2, 5, and 10% PKFO following the thermal process was reduced by 79.1, 75.6, 73, 87.6, 63.8, 59.9, and 79.2 percent, respectively, as compared to unheated oils. It should be observed that the reduction in the amount of OSI of olive oil containing 100 ppm of TBHQ and that of pure olive oil, which was lower than that of olive oil samples containing PKFO, did not show a significant difference (except for samples containing 2 percent of PKFO). The antioxidant activity of PKFO was substantially higher than that of TBHQ, the synthetic antioxidant, according to the Rancimat test results, which were consistent with previous experiments.

Does olive oil have TBHQ?

The antioxidants butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), as well as propyl gallate, were used to protect virgin unrefined olive oil from oxidation (PG). Under rapid settings (oven test) and storage conditions at 50 C, all antioxidants increased the stability of olive oil. The antioxidants’ relative inhibitory effect was in the following order in the oven test, where the kind of oil utilized was the same as that used in long-term storage tests (room temperature and 50 C): TBHQ = BHA > BHT. BHA and BHT in conjunction with TBHQ had better stabilizing properties. Antioxidants had no effect on the generation of peroxide in olive oil held at room temperature in daylight; these samples oxidized rapidly, owing to chlorophyll’s catalytic action. In the oven test and at room temperature in the dark, citric acid (CA) had no influence on the oil’s oxidative stability, but had a detrimental effect at 50 C. In the dark at 50 C, the reduction in peroxide concentration using teritary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) was larger than expected from the oven trials. Under these settings (50 C), the antioxidants’ potency was in the following order: TBHQ> BHT > BHA. In the dark at 50 C, combinations of BHA 0.01 percent or BHT 0.01 percent with TBHQ 0.005 percent were less effective than TBHQ 0.01 percent.

What is E320 in food?

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is an antioxidant made up of 2-tert-butyl-4-hydroxyanisole and 3-tert-butyl-4-hydroxyanisole, two isomeric chemical molecules. 4-methoxyphenol and isobutylene are used to make it. It is a waxy substance with the E number E320 that is used as a food additive. BHA is primarily used in food, food packaging, animal feed, cosmetics, rubber, and petroleum products as an antioxidant and preservative. BHA is also found in cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), accutane, lovastatin, and simvastatin, among other drugs.

What foods contain E319?

The preservative E319, which is included in industrial food and its raw materials, affects our immune system, particularly the cells that locate and fight the flu virus.

E319 has been detected in industrial nuts, ice cream, popcorn, spreads, chicken nuggets, frozen potatoes, chips, crackers, cereals, milk powder, vegetable oil, and fish, as well as in the heating of animal fats, cake mixes, dehydrated or frozen meat and fish, and dehydrated soups. Using tertiary butylhydroquinone is as simple as going to a fast food restaurant and eating fresh or frozen commercial meals. E319 poses a major hazard to human bodies, according to Robert Freeborn, a doctorate student, and Cheryl Rockwell, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Michigan, who led the study. In any case, they came to this result after exposing mice to the preservative in amounts comparable to those consumed by humans. They discovered a significant decrease in the amount of CD8 T cells, which fight the influenza virus, as well as CD4 and CD8 T cells that locate the virus in the body, in rodents. The researchers also discovered that the mice’ lungs were inflamed.

Scientific study has already called into question ingredients often used in the food sector, according to Giovanni D’Agata, president of the “Rights Office.” However, the objective reality remains that the same chemical has previously been outlawed in several places, such as Japan, where the potential for detrimental health effects on consumers has clearly been recognized. This not minor occurrence compels us to request that the national and European health authorities immediately verify the existence of the prerequisites for the additive’s usability in food.

Can you be allergic to TBHQ?

According to a Michigan State University researcher, a popular food additive could be connected to an increase in food allergies.

Cheryl Rockwell, an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the College of Human Medicine, started looking into the possibility of a link between the synthetic food ingredient tert-butylhydroquinone, or tBHQ, and cancer nine years ago.

She has now been recognized by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences with a grant to continue her research. The Outstanding New Environmental Scientist, or ONES, award comes with a five-year grant worth $1.5 million to fund her study.

Since she was a postgraduate student, Rockwell had aspired to win the honor. She was recently informed that she was one of only five researchers chosen this year.

tBHQ is a preservative found in a variety of foods, including frying oil, almonds, crackers, waffles, and breads, and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1972. tBHQ isn’t always indicated on the label, according to Rockwell.

According to her research, tBHQ induces T cells, which are an important element of the immune system, to release a collection of proteins that can cause allergies to foods like almonds, milk, eggs, wheat, and shellfish.

“I consider the immune system to be a military force,” remarked Rockwell. “Its job is to keep the body safe from infections like viruses. “The generals are the T cells.”

Normally, T cells release proteins called cytokines to help fight invaders, but when tBHQ was introduced into laboratory mice, the T cells generated a distinct set of cytokines that have been linked to food allergies.

Her research revealed that when tBHQ was present, T cells began to behave differently.

“T cells ceased to function as warriors in the fight against infections and began to cause allergies, according to Rockwell. “Right now, we’re attempting to figure out why the T cells are acting this way.”

According to her, the increased usage of tBHQ coincides with an increase in food allergies and the severity of some allergic reactions.

Rockwell hopes to use her ONES funding to investigate a signaling pathway she discovered in cells that appears to have a role in the development of food allergies when tBHQ is present. She’s hoping to find more compounds that activate the same signaling system.

The ONES program was established by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to help early-career researchers perform creative research on how the environment affects human health.