Tert-Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) is an antioxidant used to preserve liquid vegetable oils, edible animal fats, and increase the storage life of numerous foods.

Health considerations

High doses of TBHQ are associated with genetic mutations, cancer of the stomach, and abnormalities to reproductive organs and function in animal models. However other studies show TBHQ’s antioxidant properties to inhibit cancer development. Altogether, intake at a level that is reasonable to expect from consumption of processed foods is far from the relative levels used in animal models.

Keep in mind

The European and American food safety authorities consider TBHQ safe for consumption at a given concentration.

May be found in

Frozen fish, vegetable oil, refined oils, shortening, chewing gum


Food and Chemical Toxicology

Alternative Spellings and Names

Tertiary-butylhydroquinone, tert-butyhydroquinone, tBHQ, E319

Leave a comment