A common food additive used in cooking oils, frozen meats and fast foods such as fish and chips could lower the benefits of a flu vaccine.

Michigan State University scientists made the link after finding the preservative Tert-butylhydroquinone or tBHQ altered the immune response to the virus in mice, reports 7 news.

“If you get a vaccine, but part of the immune system doesn’t learn to recognize and fight off virus-infected cells, then this can cause the vaccine to be less effective,” Robert Freeborn, a fourth-year doctoral student who led the study with Cheryl Rockwell, an associate professor in pharmacology and toxicology, said.

Professor Robert Booy, Head of the Clinical Research team at Australia’s National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, described it as “tantalising research”.

“It’s not yet been tested on humans but in further research, I would be very keen to see if our favourite fish and chips is actually helping to make us sick,” he told News Corp on Wednesday.

Share your comments below


  • I’ve never had a flu shot. I heard an older lady in the chemist the other day saying something about “never had this before until after this flu shot…”. I have heard they don’t always work/cause more problems so would rather let my body try to fight it itself. I understand they do help people though.

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  • be interesting to see once the research has been completed, we all know food interact with medicines

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  • More research needed before they start trying to blame fish and chips. I never really pay attention to these reports, not until I believe they know what they are talking about.

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  • Hmmm very interesting.

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  • I think there needs to be more research done into these findings, as there is still alot of questions not answered. Interesting though


    • I would like comprehensive information on this topic.

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  • I think this needs more research.

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  • Links to the research would be helpful for facts and figures.

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  • They find something in a rodent and suddenly its headlining news please

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  • That’s quite an important news. We never eat fish and chips luckily.

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  • That’s certainly interesting, and I imagine could have broader implications.

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  • Good that we don’t use frozen meats and fast foods such as fish and chips. Wonder what cooking oil would be harmful. A bit more research would be good.

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  • I wonder if that refers to all cooking oils. Olive oil too? Does it mean it is only when cooking Fish and Chips that it causes the problem in question? I wonder how many people will be involved in this research….. if they do any. Some ingredients used in margarine, added to oils etc in USA are banned in Australia. We may not be affected at all.

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  • I wonder how much fish and chips you would need to eat for it to work against the vaccines? I’m guessing those that eat a lot…..

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