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Propylene Glycol in food?

September 5, 2007

The other day, I was snooping through a friend’s grocery bag, which was filled with various processed foods items. I found an item in the bag called “Devil Dogs”-chocolate snack cakes filled with a gooey, creamy substance.

Interesting! I looked at the ingredient list, excited to tell my friend all the horrors of this snack food he was about to eat. Most of the ingredients I expected. Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, and…propylene glycol.

What?! Wait, I had to take a second look. Nope, I wasn’t hallucinating. This ingredient, which is found in anti-perspirants, face cream, hand cream, hand sanitizers, is found in this snack food that children (and even adults) are eating. It is most likely used to give the food it’s chocolate color and flavor (forget about real chocolate/cocoa). I looked it up on an online dictionary, and this is what I got:

Propylene glycol, known also by the systematic name propane-1,2-diol, is an organic compound (a diol alcohol), usually a tasteless, odorless, and colorless clear oily liquid that is hygroscopic and miscible with water, acetone, and chloroform. It is manufactured by the hydration of propylene oxide. It can also be converted from glycerol, a biodiesel byproduct.

Nice! No, not very nice. It also stated that it is “generally safe for use in food, cosmetics, and medicines”. But in a later paragraph, this is what I found:


Post menopausal women who require the use of an estrogen cream may notice that brand name creams made with propylene glycol often create extreme, uncomfortable burning along the vulva and perianal area. In these cases, patients can request that a local compounding pharmacy make a “propylene glycol free” cream which is much more tolerable.

Common sense tells me to stay far, far away from foods that contain chemicals I use in my face products. Sometimes I can’t believe that these products are still on the market. Luckily, there is a greater awareness about the dangers of highly processed food (Dr.Oz on Oprah, just one example); however, many people are still in the dark.

My friend chose not to eat the Devil Dogs. šŸ™‚

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