E320 Butylated hydroxy-anisole (BHA)

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Butylated hydroxy-anisole (BHA)



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A petroleum derivative, BHA is a synthetically made aromatic organic compound that is derived from the reaction of 4-methoxyphenol and isobutylene. It retards spoilage due to oxidation in foods.

It is used in edible oils, chewing gum, fats, margarine, nuts, instant potato products and polyethylene food wrappers.

Not permitted in infant foods. May provoke an allergic reaction in some people and may trigger hyperactivity and other intolerance reactions. There are serious concerns over carcinogenicity and estrogenic effects and in large doses caused tumors in laboratory animals. It was banned in Japan in 1958, and it was recommended that it be banned in the UK, however due to industry pressure it was not. McDonald's eliminated BHT from their US products by 1986.

Not recommended to be consumed by children.

The Hyperactive Childrens Support Group believe that a link exists between this additive and hyperactive behavioural disorders in children.