How often is `antifreeze` added to food and drink?

Bottles of a flavoured whisky brand have been removed from shops for containing high levels of an antifreeze ingredient. How often is propylene glycol used in food and drink, asks Chris Stokel-Walker.

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky “tastes like heaven… burns like hell”, its manufacturer, Sazerac Company, claims in marketing materials. According to market research firm Nielsen, the whisky is one of the top 10 bestselling drinks in the US, beating popular brands such as Jose Cuervo tequila.

The drink has been removed from shelves in Norway, Sweden and Finland after batches of the whisky made to a recipe acceptable in North America – where 50g of propylene glycol per kilogram of food or drink is acceptable – made their way to Europe, where the limit on the substance is lower, at 3g per kilogram. The manufacturer says a mix-up caused US recipe whisky to be sent to Europe.


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