What’s In Your Cheez It?

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My husband was checking out the ingredients on a box of Cheez It crackers this weekend and stumbled upon something called TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone). While, granted, Cheez It’s aren’t exactly “health food”, it was disturbing to discover exactly what this little ingredient was.

According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives by Ruth Winter:

This antioxidant was put on the market after years of pushing by food manufacturers to get it approved. It contains petroleum-derived butane and is used either alone or in combination with the preservative-antioxidant butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and/or butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Hydroquinone combines with oxygen very rapidly and becomes brown when exposed to air. The FDA said that TBHQ must not exceed 0.02 percent of its oil and fat content. Death has occurred from the ingestion of as little as 5 grams. Ingestion of a single gram (a 30th of an ounce) has caused nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse. Industrial workers exposed to the vapors–without obvious systemic effects–suffered clouding of the eye lens. Application to the skin may cause allergic reactions.

Why did food manufactures have to push for years to get this approved? Could it have something to do with the fact that it contains “petroleum-derived butane”? Or maybe that as little as 5 grams of this substance can cause death? Or was it the damage to worker’s eyes caused by it’s vapors?

Let’s see… if you do a search for “petroleum-derived butane” on google, you’ll find info about TBHQ, propane, butane, petroleum-derived fuels, natural gas, oil, fuel….

Um… wait…. what?

I’m looking for something that is in my food. Why am I getting info about what to put in my car?

From the Dictionary:

pe·tro·le·um

noun /pəˈtrōlēəm/

A liquid mixture of hydrocarbons that is present in certain rock strata and can be extracted and refined to produce fuels including gasoline, kerosene, and diesel oil; oil

bu·tane

noun /ˈbyo͞oˌtān/

A flammable hydrocarbon gas that is a constituent of petroleum and is used in bottled form as a fuel. It is a member of the alkane series

YIKES!

I don’t know about you, but I have a BIG problem with this being in my food. And Cheez It crackers aren’t the only culprit. TBHQ can be found in many different crackers, chips, breakfast cereals and many other foods, including… surprise surprise, McDonalds chicken, fish & fries. blech! I can’t believe people still eat there.

WHY is this in my food? Well, think about it. It’s used to preserve freshness. Meaning… without a preservative, foods “go bad” faster. The expiration dates on the the food would have to be shortly after the food is made. Shorter shelf-life means it has to be sold faster and whatever isn’t sold in time gets returned to the manufacture (at their expense) or thrown out  (at the retailers expense)… not a good thing for a company trying to make money… and that’s the key actually… “making money”… it seems that even though we have a “Food & Drug Administration” that is SUPPOSED to be making sure the foods and drugs we ingest are 100% safe for our health… when it comes to the “all mighty dollar” things like this are allowed to “slip by” and are passed off as okay because it’s cost efficient. They rely on the hope that people won’t do the research.

But guess what? People ARE doing the research. We have the ability to put an end to the use of ingredients in our food that are unhealthy and toxic. Being healthy isn’t just about Diet & Exercise”, it’s about MAKING A CHOICE to be healthy. It’s about refusing to purchase products that don’t meet OUR standards. TBHQ does NOT meet my standards. Does it meet yours? Make the choice and vote with your wallet!

We all know the saying “everything in moderation”… but would you take a sip of Regular at your local Exxon-Mobile once a month? It’s just a little bit, right? Must be okay….

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