Propylene Glycol in your mustard?
“Pass The Propylene Glycol Please” was originally written and shared in my Newsletter “Planting Seeds”
I have shared my original article just as it was written years ago
That’s the new phrase for the old saying, “Pass the Mustard please.” What, you didn’t know that some mustard manufacturers add propylene glycol to their mustard? Like me, you may be wondering why Propylene Glycol is listed as the 4th ingredient in a bottle of brown mustard. That’s a good question, considering the FDA has determined that propylene glycol in or on cat food has not been shown safe for use!!! Yes, that’s right folks, you heard me right. I repeat, the use of propylene glycol in or on cat food renders it in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. But the same trustworthy FDA has determined that propylene glycol is GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for use in HUMAN food, cosmetics and medicines.
By now you may be asking what IS this substance found in my mustard. Well, Propylene glycol, known also by the systematic name propane-1,2-diol, is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless clear oily liquid that is hygroscopic (can be absorbed into water) and can be easily mixed with water, acetone, and chloroform. It is manufactured by the hydration of propylene oxide. It can also be converted from glycerol, a byproduct of a diesel equivalent produced from natural ingredients such as vegetable oils used to fuel some unmodified diesel engines.
In addition Propylene glycol is used legally in the following ways:
- As a moisturizer in medicines, cosmetics, food, toothpaste, and tobacco products
- As a medical lubricant
- As an emulsification agent in Orange bitters
- As a solvent for food colors and flavorings
- As a humectants food additive, labeled as E number E1520
- As a carrier in fragrance oils
- As a non-toxic antifreeze
- In smoke machines to make artificial smoke for use in firefighters’ training and theatrical productions
- In electronic cigarettes to make the produced vapor better resemble cigarette smoke
- In hand sanitizers, antibacterial lotions, and saline solutions
- As a main ingredient in many cosmetic products, including baby wipes, bubble baths, deodorants, shampoos, and hair dyes
- As a base ingredient in aircraft deicing fluid and some automobile antifreezes
- In cryonics
- As a working fluid in hydraulic presses
- To regulate humidity in a cigar humidor
- As the killing and preserving agent in pitfall traps, usually used to capture ground beetles
- To treat livestock ketosis
Yum yum…I bet your mouth is just watering now for something to squeeze a little propylene glycol on, right? Yeah, right. If you are like me, you are a busy person, having little time for in depth reading in the grocery store. However, like me, you may also hope to live past 80 in good health! As I rushed through the local grocery store, quickly grabbing a few items to make homemade potato salad I stopped for only a moment to glance at the back of the mustard bottle. My eyes quickly skimmed the ingredient list and stopped on propylene glycol…I had no idea what it was, let alone if it was safe to eat. The first thought to cross my mind was, hey, it wouldn’t be in there if it was not safe. Then the little voice inside my head reminded me that food manufacturers as well as some government agencies were not really looking out for my long term goal of living past 80, they were looking at their short term goal of making MONEY. I sat the bottle back on the shelf, and found another mustard with only six ingredients, all of which I could easily identify. Total time to “check it out” less than 3 minutes; maybe I do have time for good health after all.
I made a mental note to myself to do a little research to find out what propylene glycol was doing in my mustard. Now, I know. Now, I can avoid purchasing propylene glycol laced mustard! But wait, what about when I go out to eat? What about when I eat some potato salad at my family reunion, or at a friends house?
In the years since I began to research what actually goes into the foods I put into my body, I realized there is precious little that I should eat! At first I was proud of my ability to choose the best foods and reject those that didn’t meet my standards, and wondered why everyone else didn’t jump on the bandwagon. As the years passed by, I understood that it does take time to research, plan, and prepare a healthy menu.
It would be much easier if the agencies who are supposed to be looking out for our best interests and the health of this nation would let the research be the deciding factor instead of money. But, until such a time comes, if ever it does, we must continue to protect ourselves and our families, by doing our own research, avoiding processed foods and eating as many whole foods as possible. Above all this, we must pray over our foods and in sincerity, ask God to bless the food we are about to put into our bodies.
March 2, 2016 Edited to add
I reiterate Propylene Glycol is GRAS (generally regarded as safe) for humans, however it is prohibited in cat food. Propylene Glycol is the main ingredient in antifreeze and is also used in vapor cigarettes. Reading the MSDS sheet doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling though…also, doesn't make me feel hungry. While some say propylene glycol in small amounts is perfectly safe, I prefer to err on the side of caution. At best it can cause flare ups in people suffering from Eczema or other skin conditions and I already have that to deal with, at worse it's a carcinogen.
Propylene Glycol is even in BEER (check Corona from the US) and Whisky to add sweetness and body! Recently Fireball Cinnamon Whisky had bottles of the famous 66-proof drink yanked from shelves in Sweden, Norway, and Finland for containing too much of the potentially toxic chemical propylene glycol. Parent company Sazerac explains in a statement that there was a mix-up in shipments: “Unfortunately, Fireball shipped its North American formula to Europe and found that one ingredient is out of compliance with European regulations.”
That ingredient is propylene glycol (PG), which is found in antifreeze and other industrial products. While in much smaller quantities it is deemed “food grade” or “pharmaceutical grade” propylene glycol is used as a flavor additive and preservative in many drinks, sodas, snacks, ice cream, and cosmetic products. (source)
I avoid this additive by buying organic or making my own. One more reason to check your labels!