With all of the clatter about GMOs in food and whether or not chemicals in the name of fertilizer are damaging to our nation's (and world's) people, we might be forgetting about the dangers these very things cause to our beloved pets - and even farm stock, like chickens.
As we speak, Purina, a Nestle company, is in the middle of a lawsuit that claims their Beneful line of dog food causes serious problems, including death. The ingredient that is causing all of the concern is propylene glycol, an ingredient that is in anti-freeze. And we all know what happens to dogs that eat anti-freeze. If you want a clear definition of what this compound is, you can read it straight from a website that is devoted to just that, propylene glycol. Be aware, however, that they are promoting its use and emphatically believe that it is a safe component - for everyone.
Purina says that the levels of glycol in the dog food is "safe" and that propylene glycol is also added to people food. That statement should concern you and here's why: It's in almost everything you can buy - if it's a convenience food. Some products that include propylene glycol in their lengthy list of ingredients include, but are not limited to:
- Some cake mixes. I pulled a box of Duncan Hines Classic White mix and found propylene glycol listed right after flour, vegetable oil, and shortening - near the top of the list. Manufacturer's list ingredients in order from the highest amounts to the lowest. Betty Crocker and some other brands also use it extensively in their cake mixes. Yikes! I found it in Pillsbury's Gluten-free Funfetti Cake Mix!
- Some ice-creams. Edy's Slow Churned Peppermint has it listed in the middle of the ingredient list. Their brand of Red Velvet Cake flavor has it listed near the end of the ingredient list. It's near the top of the ingredient list in Blue Bunny's Sweet Freedom Vanilla Ice-cream Cones. Not every brand, or flavor, of ice-cream uses propylene glycol. Check the ingredients before you purchase if you want to be sure.
- Cold Stone Creamery (in the same store as our Tim Horton's), uses it a LOT in their ice-cream products. My husband's favorite ice-cream, Culver's Frozen Custard, does not contain any propylene glycol as far as I can tell. I could only find the ingredient list for vanilla custard online. I intend to e-mail the company, however, and ask them point blank. If you're concerned, you should do the same. An honest company will shoot you an honest answer.
- Betty Crocker ready to use frosting uses propylene glycol in their products. It's right toward the top of the ingredient list. Other brands could use it as well, so check the label!
- Food Coloring - McCormick's food coloring and egg dye lists it right after water. Guess what? It's also in Baker's Imitation Vanilla Flavoring - again, right after water.
If you want to read an informative article about this very topic, I suggest this one. Another, equally good, article can be found here.