There Is Antifreeze In Your Ice Cream

bowl of ice cream

(THE HEALTHY HOME ECONOMIST)   One thing I try to do on this blog is alert folks to the sneaky, underhanded and frequently toxic chemicals that Big Food processors add to their products.

One of these dirty little secrets is the fact that propylene glycol, a cosmetic form of antifreeze, is added to commercial ice cream.

You see, when you make ice cream at home, you immediately notice that it is as hard as a rock very unlike store ice creams (even the organic ones) that seem to scoop out of the container so conveniently.

Homemade ice cream has to be taken out of the freezer and softened on the counter for a few minutes before you have any hope of scooping some out into a bowl.    I even store mine in a shallow, Pyrex baking dish as this makes it much easier and faster to scoop out when I want some.

Antifreeze, then, is simply ice cream manufacturers’ answer to hard as a rock ice cream and the ice crystals that inevitably form as it is shipped long distances and moved between many different freezers before it finally makes it to your supermarket.

If you’ve ever left homemade ice cream on the counter too long and then put it back in the freezer, you notice how icy it can get.   Antifreeze added to store ice cream helps prevent this from happening!

Sometimes when I tell folks this for the first time, they have trouble believing it.  Why?   Because propylene glycol isn’t listed anywhere on the ice cream label or ingredients list.

While it may come as a shock to some of you, there is such a thing as an “Industry Standard“, which means that if everyone does it, you don’t have to label it!   For those who need specifics, USDA reg 21 CFR 101.100 deals with labeling exemptions dealing with incidental food additives.

Nice, huh?   Where I grew up, this was called deceit.

Can you believe it?  Just because commercial ice cream manufacturers make a practice of adding a little bit of antifreeze to their ice cream, then it doesn’t have to be labeled!   I don’t even trust organic ice cream as it is way too easy to scoop out of the container right out of the freezer for my comfort level.   My efforts to confirm this one way or the other were not successful, so at this time, it is only a very strong hunch.

Just to get you a little more hot under the collar, the FDA actually had the gall to grant GRAS status to antifreeze!    What is GRAS?   It is an acronym for “Generally Recognized As Safe”.

Well, isn’t that interesting?   Antifreeze safe to eat!   You learn something new every day!

Wait a minute!   Antifreeze safe to eat, yet a dog would probably die if a car radiator leaks in his owner’s driveway and he laps some of it up?

Ok, ok, I know that antifreeze used in radiators is ethylene glycol, but the fact is that propylene glycol is a related chemical that is known to cause heart, kidney, liver, and central nervous system damage if sufficient quantity is absorbed by the body.

Given that Americans eat approximately 5 times the ice cream they did only 50 years ago, it is anyone’s guess what the long term effects of the small amounts of propylene glycol in store ice cream might be (source: WAPF).

So, ethylene glycol will kill you quickly and propylene glycol will kill you slowly and perhaps painfully.  That seems to be the gist of it to me.

I used to wonder why whenever I ate store ice cream or got an ice cream cone at the Mall, the next day I seemed to have a very close relationship to the bathroom.   Turns out that a side effect of consuming antifreeze is loose bowels, even diarrhea.    Propylene glycol is even used to clean out the bowel before surgery and is a primary ingredient in some over the counter constipation meds!

By the way, there are MANY other chemicals added to commercial ice cream that are toxic and unlabeled.   Piperonal, for example, is used in place of vanilla and is a chemical used to kill head lice, so you’re not even safe getting a basic flavor like plain vanilla ice cream!

What if the ingredients label lists vanilla?    Does this mean there is no piperonal in there?   Not necessarily.  A mixture of piperonal and vanilla could be used with the vanilla listed (to make the customer happy) and the piperonal not listed (to fool the customer and increase profits).   Not surprisingly, piperonal is cheaper to use than vanilla.

Food manufacturers are really good at the cat and mouse games and are complete virtuosos at playing the USDA regulations.

So, if you aren’t into eating antifreeze with your ice cream, check out my videoblog on how to make your own, safe, delicious, healthy ice cream!


11 Responses to There Is Antifreeze In Your Ice Cream

  • Please list your sources for the dangers of propylene glycol, anti-freeze is not toxic like it used to be and is now declared generally recognized as safe because of the simple fact they now use a non-toxic ingredient called propylene glycol. I really would like to see your direct sources for the claims you made in this article. Propylene glycol is also used in e-cigarettes, which are perfectly safe.

  • there are test kits vetrenarians use to test animals for anti freeze to see if its present in there system im sure if you used something like that it would test positive

    as far as im concerned we need to start spreading this information the milk industry want to be able to add aspertane to milk and not list it well i think its about time we start a series of law suits against these food manufactures the end goal to force a chance not for money, everyone in america has been effeceted by there lies and some have died from time to time over there "games" personally i think its time we start telling these companys what they can and can not do not our goverment as its completly clear they do not have the best intrest of the people in mind

  • Propylene glycol is not antifreeze, antifreeze has buffers, lubricant and corrosion inhibitors… Food trade propylene glycol has none of that, it is also organic… You should understand the subject you are writing about, instead of just jotting misinformation down for a paycheck

  • tell us about aspartame pg guy

  • The veracity of this article is in the response — two of three above comments are from paid shills (ah, the new propylene glycol isn’t as dangerous as it used to be — what??? seriously? who pays you for this crap?). Great article, and important to share. P G IS labeled in many foods, and having made my own ice cream, this makes total sense, as I have been unable to figure out how to make it and not have it turn out hard as rock!

  • I think you guys should listen, My husband bought me soy delicious ice cream the other night, and i was doubling over in pain, cramping, on the toilet all night. What ever is in the shit is not good. It cause very bad gas at minimal.

  • Absolute rubbish. This isn’t “news,” nor is it “secret.” I read an article about it years ago (linked below), and it was an old article even at that time. People who fear scientific advancement don’t base their opinions on fact. The base them on emotions. Don’t get taken in.

    And no, I’m not “on the payroll” of “big dairy” or other related industry. I’m a safety guy for a medium-sized construction contractor.

  • Just to let you know I just found out that I am allergic to Propylene Glycol and it took testing to find this out.
    I was braking out in a rash over my body and the itching was driving me up the wall.
    I now have to look at all labels as this stuff is in a lot of products.
    Skin cream, laundry detergent,cold drinks, deodorant, cake mix, and yes ice cream.
    I am 75 yr old and this is just now showing up and the doctor told me that it has built up in my system of the years.
    It my take a year before the rash is totally gone but I will always be allergic to the Glycol.
    Paul Aruda

  • antifreeze kills you quickly,propylene glycol kills you slowly by poisoning your organs

  • Whats wrong with wanting SAFE, DECEIT free food? I can’t believe some comments are defending, rationalizing propylene glycol and why its ok. NO means NO, grow a spine america.

  • Total bull shit. Can’t beleive the shit these companies get away with.

    Hot government stands by while America is slowly poisoned.

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