Hey, fellow snack enthusiasts! Who among us hasn’t reached for a box of Wheat Thins during a movie night or packed them in our kids’ lunch boxes? They sound healthy enough, right? That name surely suggests they’re good for us. Well, I recently went down a rabbit hole that started with a simple snack and ended up being quite an eye-opener. Did you know that Wheat Thins are banned in Japan and Europe, but sold in the USA? Here’s what I found.
BHT: The Unwelcome Guest from Overseas
So, I discovered that our good old Wheat Thins are banned in places like the E.U. and Japan because of BHT, a chemical preservative that is widely used in the food industry to keep things fresh for longer.
But here’s the twist: countries like the E.U. and Japan have given it a thumbs down due to some studies pointing to its potential risks, including the chance of it disrupting our hormones.
It’s Not IN the Crackers, It’s ON Them
Now, before you flip over your Wheat Thins box searching for BHT in the ingredients list, let me save you the trouble. It’s not there. Not because it’s not around the crackers, but because it’s not technically in them. Instead, it’s found in the packaging, coming in sneaky contact with our crackers. This sneaky move means companies don’t need to list it in the ingredients, even though it’s still part of the package deal.
Thinking Beyond the Box (Literally!)
This revelation about Wheat Thins and BHT makes us wonder: what else is lurking in our kitchen cabinets? It’s a reminder that we need to think beyond just the ingredients and consider things like packaging which might indirectly affect our health.
So, How Do We Navigate This?
For all my fellow snackers and parents who want the best for their families, here are a few steps:
- Become Label Detectives: Always check the labels, even if they might not have all the answers.
- Do Your Homework: Get to know your favorite brands. Look up their practices, ethics, and any controversies they might have had.
- Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest in food safety and research. A well-informed snacker is a smart snacker.
- Natural Might Be Better: Though not always the case, leaning towards natural or organic products can be a safer bet against synthetic additives.
Alright, folks, the Wheat Thins and BHT saga is just a snippet of the food world’s complexities. As parents, consumers, and just people who love a good snack, it’s on us to stay vigilant. We owe it to our families and ourselves. After all, a safe snack is a happy snack! Stay crunchy!
- Opinion on Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) – Public Health, health.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2022-08/sccs_o_257.pdf.
- Horbańczuk, Olaf K et al. “The Effect of Natural Antioxidants on Quality and Shelf Life of Beef and Beef Products.” Food technology and biotechnology vol. 57,4 (2019): 439-447. doi:10.17113/ftb.57.04.19.6267
- Pop, Anca et al. “Endocrine disrupting effects of butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA – E320).” Clujul medical (1957) vol. 86,1 (2013): 16-20.
- Ito, N et al. “Carcinogenicity and modification of the carcinogenic response by BHA, BHT, and other antioxidants.” Critical reviews in toxicology vol. 15,2 (1985): 109-50. doi:10.3109/10408448509029322
- Burros, Marian. “BHT: Studying the Safety.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 23 June 1977, www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1977/06/23/bht-studying-the-safety/cb6914ee-b375-4e8b-ae85-2c83d50dd27e/.