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Which Ingredient Is Banned In England, Japan, Australia, but not the US?

Published on Tuesday, 08 October 2013 18:18

BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) – Common additive banned in England, Japan, Australia and Sweden, still allowed in the U.S. Food Supply

Butylated hydroxytoluene, or BHT, is a synthetic antioxidant added to a wide array of food products to prevent fats from becoming rancid and extend shelf life.  It also preserves color, texture and flavor.  BHT is also found routinely as a stabilizer in pesticides, gasoline, lubricants and soaps. 

There are many possible problems that result from the ingestion of BHT.  Among them are:  kidney and liver damage, weakened immune system response, female infertility, behavioral problems, the exacerbation of ADHD symptoms, allergic reactions and cancer.  As an additional note, those who are allergic to aspirin may be especially sensitive to BHT in their foods. 

BHT is shows the potential to be bioaccumulative in humans.  That means that the ingredient may build up in your body, making the possibility of side effects a stronger possibility.  It has been noted that the antioxidant shows a moderate to high potential of bioaccumulation in aquatic species. 

While other countries have banned the use of BHT in their food supply, the U.S. FDA still considers the preservative GRAS (generally recognized as safe) in small quantities.    If the ingredient is, in fact, bioaccumulative, the small quantities will build up over time.  The more food ingested containing BHT, the greater the amounts of BHT found in the body.  This makes the likelihood of suffering health effects from the ingredient much higher.  Studies of BHT in rats found the ingredient to be toxic to the animals over the long term.  The state of California has listed BHT as a known carcinogen.  And the ingredient has been banned in baby food because of its link to hyperactivity in children.

BHT is so common you can find it in just about any food category.  It’s in our cereals, breakfast bars, cookies, candy meatless products, instant mashed potatoes, canned foods, prepared stuffings … the list is endless.  This is a difficult ingredient to avoid because its use is widespread and not restricted to just a few food categories.  Since is not happy about consuming any substance that’s been banned elsewhere and even less happy about eating anything with an ingredient that’s included in gasoline and pesticides, we do our best to avoid BHT.  That means staying away from processed foods and beverages so that we can be sure we’re staying away from the ingredient.

Visit The Rak Foundation for Nutritional Awareness for more information on how we can change the way America eats!