Chemistry Test For Cake Mixes

Chemistry test:
Cake Mix Label
Q:What is Propylene Glycol?

A: It's an anti-caking and emulsifying agent that's not found in nature, according to the FDA. It's classified as "generally recognized as safe" for use in food in the U.S. as long as the amounts don't rise above a certain level.

Q: What is Propylene Glycol used for in foods?

A: It's commonly used as a softening agent and emulsifier in cake mixes.

Q: What else can it be used for?

A: It can be found in toothpastes, moisturizers, pharmaceuticals, antifreezes, deicing solutions, paintballs, antibacterial lotions, tattoo ink, airplane de-icer, and deodorants.

Q: Wait, so why is it used in all that stuff?

A: It keeps things soft and has a low melting point.

Q: But it's okay to eat, right?

A: That's what they tell us. As long as you don't eat too much of it.

Q: If it's in a lot of foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, how do you know how much you're getting into your system?

A: I guess you don't.

Q: Then how do you know if you're ingesting too much?

A: I guess you don't.

Q: Haven't there been studies that show a link between propylene glycols and health problems in children?

A: ........They're "generally accepted as safe."

Q: .......Okay...Well, what else are they used for?

A: It's the inactive ingredient in a lot of things since it keeps things soft. For example, Dulcolax Stool Softener has propylene glycol in it.

Q: So the same chemical that isn't found in nature, might cause health problems in too-high quantities that you can't really monitor unless you just try to avoid it because it's in so many things, and is used in cake mixes is also used in stool softeners?

A:  Yes.

Q: Even if they're "generally accepted as safe," am I the only one who thinks that's kind of gross?

A: I certainly hope not.

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and