Questions and Answers about Propylene Glycol

What is propylene glycol?

Propylene glycol is a common ingredient found in many products we use in our daily life. Propylene glycol and other substances such as baking soda are often used in common foods, it also have a variety of uses outside of food, such as serving as an ingredient in many pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and personal care products.

Propylene glycol is added as a food ingredient to common products, such as frostings, candies, and even baked goods. It is used as a component in natural flavorings to help distribute the flavoring evenly throughout the product.

Propylene glycol is a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) food ingredient, meaning it has been deemed safe for its intended uses in food. It was classified as GRAS by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1973.

Why is propylene glycol used in food?

Propylene glycol is often used to maintain the moisture in prepared foods and works to maintain their flavor quality for longer periods of time. It is also found in flavorings, such as vanilla or almond extracts used in baking, and in some types of food coloring.

Is propylene glycol safe?

Yes, propylene glycol can be safely consumed. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives have reviewed scientific research on the safety of propylene glycol to ensure that it is safe for its intended uses in food.

How is propylene glycol regulated in food?

Propylene glycol is regulated by the FDA to ensure its safe use and consumption. FDA sets limits on the uses and amounts propylene glycol, and other ingredients that can be used in foods and beverages, to ensure safety. According to FDA, current consumption of propylene glycol is at a safe level and far below levels that would raise any concern.

Isn’t propylene glycol harmful because it is in antifreeze?

No. Propylene glycol use in foods and beverages is often confused with the previous use of ethylene glycol in antifreeze, which is very harmful to humans and pets if consumed. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), propylene glycol is now used in antifreeze instead of ethylene glycol because it is much less harmful. However, people and pets should not consume antifreeze, as there may be other harmful chemicals or compounds in the product.