Last Updated on December 17, 2022
Propylene glycol is safe in food and good for consumption because of the several benefits the body can get from it. It is found in many household products, especially carbonated drinks, cosmetics, hair products, and other Foods That Contain Propylene Glycol.
Many manufacturing industries also add it to their products, such as solvents, brake fluids, thinners, etc. About 97% of the seasoning and flavors we add to food and snacks contain propylene glycol. The food authorities, especially in the United States and European countries, have announced its safety for consumption in foods.
There have been controversies about propylene glycol, as many stated its side effects since many also use it for antifreeze. Consumption has resulted in different health issues and concerns for many people. So, let us look at what propylene glycol is and how safe it is in food.
Although, when exposed to the eye, propylene glycol can cause conjunctivitis, this often goes down once you move the eyes from propylene glycol exposure. A small level of skin irritation has been linked to propylene glycol, primarily when used in large quantities.
What is Propylene Glycol?
Propylene glycol is from the family of alcohol. It was derived from propene. Propene, when converted to form propylene, becomes very harmful. This propylene is often used in making propylene oxide which, when hydrolyzed with water, gets the propylene glycol.
Propylene glycol is often colorless, tasteless, and almost odorless, and often taken for ethylene glycol, but they are entirely different. It is mainly used in various processed foods for preservation and products like skin products as it helps in moistening and smooth the skin. It is also called propanediol, methyl ethyl glycol, and trimethyl glycol.
Which Foods Contain Propylene Glycol?
Different common foods contain propylene glycol, either in large or small quantities and many people are ignorant of this fact. Manufacturing industries use this propylene glycol to increase the lifespan of their processed foods. Propylene glycol can serve as food addictive or preservation. Foods that contain propylene glycol include the following:
- Fast foods.
- Soft or carbonated drinks.
- Processed snacks.
- Baking ingredients for cakes, biscuits, cupcakes, and pancakes.
- Beverages that are alcoholic.
- Coloring agents for food.
- Ice cream flavors.
- Ice cream with flavors.
- Canned foods and also dairy products.
These foods contain propylene glycol either as a preservative, or emulsifier, or to improve the appearance and texture of the food. Many people believe that propylene glycol is suitable for consumption when it is in low quantity, but how safe is it for consumption?
Is Propylene Glycol Safe for Consumption?
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared propylene glycol safe for various uses, especially in food, drugs, and cosmetics. But according to the World Health Organization, only twenty-five milligrams of propylene glycol per kilogram is safe for your body weight. Once it’s beyond that, it becomes toxic for the body. It is the daily intake that every consumer must note to ensure they don’t take propylene glycol in excess.
There is the probability that one can’t take in more than enough propylene glycol. This is because the foods and beverages only contain a small quantity of it. It also undergoes degradation in the body fast. It is why propylene glycol is safe for consumption but in a small amount even though calculating the quantity in food may be difficult.
Are There Any Side Effects of Consuming Propylene Glycol?
Although, the FDA declared propylene glycol safe for consumption. There are some potential risks in taking a high level of propylene glycol. About 3.5% of people are allergic to propylene glycol, and as such, it may not be suitable for consumption by this set of people.
Propylene glycol digests quickly in the body. It has a high absorption rate in the gastrointestinal tract, but it may be low in those with underlying liver and kidney diseases. It may result in acidosis because of the pile-up of lactic acid and propylene glycol in the body. But for every other person, propylene glycol is free for consumption.
How Do You Avoid Propylene Glycol in Your Body?
Propylene glycol is present in the majority of the canned foods, beverages, and processed foods we consume daily. It means one may not be able to get rid of this propylene glycol completely. But you can take control of the quantity you consume. If you want to avoid its consumption altogether, you have to stop taking everything that has propylene glycol, either processed foods, beverages, skin care products, or drugs. Start consuming fresh food instead since fresh food doesn’t need any preservatives or other chemicals for packaging.
Always check their ingredients before purchasing. You can replace beverage intake with water. It is an excellent way to reduce the intake of propylene glycol. Other products don’t contain propylene glycol. You can check up and go for them instead of the ones that have them.
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What is The Difference Between Food Grade Propylene Glycol and Industrial Grade Propylene Glycol?
As we have already established, propylene glycol is a type of organic compound that is used in a wide range of products, including food, pharmaceuticals, and industrial products. It has many useful properties, including the ability to dissolve many different types of substances and to function as a solvent, humectant, and stabilizer.
One of the primary distinctions between food-grade and industrial-grade propylene glycol is the level of purity and quality. Food-grade propylene glycol passes the criteria specified by regulatory authorities such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This actually indicates that it is safe for use in food and beverages because it does not contain any form of impurities, contaminants, or toxins that could be harmful if ingested.
Industrial-grade propylene glycol, on the other hand, is not always safe and suitable for this type of use as it may not meet the same purity and quality standards as the aforementioned food-grade propylene glycol. In most cases, industrial ones are very likely to contain high levels of impurities, contaminants, or toxins that could be harmful if ingested.
Furthermore, we mustn’t forget to mention that the food grade one is formulated exclusively for human consumption, and it is frequently used as a humectant, solvent, or stabilizer in goods such as ice cream, cake mixes, and salad dressings. In contrast, industrial grade one is not intended for human consumption and is used in a variety of industrial applications, such as the manufacture of polymers, antifreeze, and coolants.
Does Cheese Contain Propylene Glycol?
ICheese can contain propylene glycol, but it is not a common case. Admittedly, we mustn’t fail to mention that is sometimes added to cheese as a humectant or stabilizer. Humectants are chemicals that help in the retention of moisture, hence improving the texture and shelf life of cheese. Stabilizers are, on the other hand, compounds that aid in the prevention of component separation in cheese, which can enhance its consistency and flavor.
Propylene glycol is generally added in fairly modest amounts to cheese and is generally considered to be safe for human consumption. If you want to avoid it as much as possible, we recommend introducing cheddar, mozzarella, and feta cheese to your menu as they are guaranteed to be made without the use of propylene glycol.
Is Propylene Glycol a Form Of Sugar?
In short, propylene glycol is not a form of sugar. But you shouldn’t be surprised that this is one of the most frequently asked questions because it does have a slightly sweet taste. The thing is, this is due to the presence of a small amount of a sweet-tasting molecule known as propylene glycol monomethyl ether (PMME).
However, propylene glycol’s sweetness is much weaker or in other words less intense than that of sugar and therefore is not usually used as a sweetener in the things we consume.
Is Propylene Glycol in Coca-Cola?
Coca-Cola can contain propylene glycol, but it is not a common ingredient in most versions of the world’s most famous beverage. As most of you know, Coca-Cola is a well-known carbonated beverage made from a blend of sugar, caffeine, and other ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, caffeine, caramel color, natural flavors, and citric acid.
However, it is important to emphasize that propylene glycol can also be added to act as a humectant or stabilizer in some specific cases. In general, it is important to check the ingredient list on a Coca-Cola product package to see if it includes propylene glycol or any other additives. Some versions of this beverage that are probably made without propylene glycol are Coke Zero, Diet Coke, and Coke Life.
Does Kombucha Have Propylene Glycol?
Kombucha is a type of fermented tea that is made from a blend of tea, sugar, and a culture of bacteria and yeast. This popular, refreshing beverage has a somewhat sour and sweet flavor and is frequently flavored with fruit juices, herbs, or spices.
In some cases, propylene glycol can be added to kombucha to help retain moisture, which can improve the texture and shelf life of the kombucha and prevent the ingredients from separating, which can improve its consistency and flavor as a result.
Many types of kombucha are made without the use of any additives, including propylene glycol, however, the best thing to do is to check the ingredient list on the package to determine if it contains ingredients you want to avoid. Some kombucha that is made without propylene glycol includes GT’s Kombucha and Health-Ade Kombucha.
Is Propylene Glycol Organic or Inorganic?
To cut a long story short, propylene glycol is a naturally occurring organic chemical. It is a man-made, synthetic substance made from propylene, a type of hydrocarbon. This multipurpose compound is often used as a solvent or a stabilizer in a wide range of goods, including food, medicines, and personal care items, and perhaps most interesting of all, it can be used as a de-icing agent for aircraft.
Is There Propylene Glycol in Mayonnaise?
Some brands of mayonnaise may contain propylene glycol as an ingredient. It is, however, not a common ingredient in mayonnaise, and it is not necessary for the production of this condiment. Eggs, oil, vinegar, or lemon juice, and ingredients are commonly used to make mayonnaise. Other additives, such as preservatives or stabilizers, which may contain propylene glycol, may be added by certain manufacturers. It is important to check the product label to verify if propylene glycol is contained.
Conclusively, propylene glycol is a colorless, tasteless, and almost odorless compound often found inside food, beverages, skincare, and hair products, including medications. The food authorities have declared it safe for consumption. Only at 25 milligrams per kilogram per body weight. The Food and Drug Authorities placed this restriction for the producers and manufacturers to know how to add propylene glycol to their products. This is to ensure that consumers are safe when they use their products or consume them.
Many industries, especially manufacturing, use propylene glycol as additives, emulsifiers, flavoring agents, and others. The body system absorbs it quickly through metabolism. However, people with kidney and liver problems may find it difficult because the absorption rate is slow. This may endanger their health. You should know your state of health before consumption.
Also, if you want to reduce consumption or avoid taking inside food, or beverages the best thing you can do is to check the products before consumption. This will help you to know whether they have propylene glycol. The best way to prevent consumption is to eat fresh food and replace beverages with water since fresh food doesn’t need preservatives, additives, and other chemical products for packaging.
Barbara is an environmental activist and sustainability advocate who loves living green and sustainable. She firmly believes in reducing her carbon footprint and has been making great strides towards achieving this goal. Barbara is a vegan and avid recycler and has been actively involved in community gardens and other green initiatives. She is passionate about spreading awareness about the importance of living in a sustainable and eco–friendly manner. Barbara is always looking for ways to make a difference in her community and beyond. She is a huge advocate for preserving nature and the planet for future generations.