Where is E319, the food additive that threatens our immune system?


Present in industrial food and its raw materials, the E319 preservative weakens our immune system, especially the cells that locate and fight the influenza virus.

Published on April 7, a study by the State University of Michigan (USA) reveals that tertiary butylhydroquinone (BHQT), a food additive better known as E319, threatens our immune system and increases the vulnerability of consumers to the flu virus. Banned in several countries such as Japan in particular, E319 remains authorized in Europe or in the United States, where it is used for the storage of food and industrial preparations with a high fat content. In other words, it is impossible to produce an exhaustive list of products containing tertiary butylhydroquinone because it is present almost everywhere in the industrial diet and its ingredients.

In the form of traces or in larger quantities, E319 was found for example in industrial nuts, ice cream, popcorn, spreads, chicken nuggets, frozen potatoes, chips, crackers, cereals, powdered milk, vegetable oil and fish, in cooking of animal fats, cake mixes, dehydrated or frozen meat and fish, dehydrated soups. Diving in a fast food restaurant or consuming fresh or frozen industrial dishes is certainly a good idea for using tertiary butylhydroquinone. The problem, according to Robert Freeborn, doctoral student and Cheryl Rockwell, professor of pharmacology and toxicology who led the study for the University of Michigan, is that E319 poses a serious threat to our body. In any case, this is the conclusion they reached after exposing the mice to the preservative, in quantities proportional to those consumed by humans. They observed a significant reduction in the number of CD8 T cells in rodents, responsible for fighting the influenza virus and CD4 and CD8 T cells that localize the virus in the body. Inflammation of rodents' lungs has also been identified by researchers.

It is not the first time, notes Giovanni D'Agata, president of the “Sportello delle Libre”, that scientific research calls into question substances that are generally used in the food industry. However, the objective fact remains that the same additive has already been banned in some states, such as Japan, where evidently it has taken note of possible and even only potential negative consequences for the health of consumers. This non-irrelevant circumstance leads us to request an immediate verification by the national and European health authorities of the existence of the conditions for the usability in food of the additive in question.

Where is E319, the food additive that threatens our immune system?