Propylene Glycol

When is Food-Grade Propylene Glycol Required?

Propylene glycol, a versatile and widely used chemical, serves various purposes across different industries. It comes in two primary grades: food-grade and industrial-grade. In this blog post, we'll delve into the distinctions between these grades, emphasizing that the requirement for food-grade propylene glycol does not necessarily imply its intended ingestion. We'll explore the diverse applications of food-grade propylene glycol, extending beyond the realm of food consumption.

Understanding the Basics

Food-grade propylene glycol undergoes rigorous testing to ensure its purity and safety. This testing is conducted to meet the strict standards set by regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The emphasis on purity is crucial, especially when the substance is intended for applications involving direct or indirect contact with food or human-grade products.

On the other hand, industrial-grade propylene glycol, while serving important purposes in various non-food applications, is generally less pure than its food-grade counterpart. It is specifically designed for industrial applications such as antifreeze, de-icing solutions, and various manufacturing processes. It may contain impurities that are not permissible in contexts where the substance comes into contact with food.

Diverse Applications of Food-Grade Propylene Glycol

While both variants share the same foundational chemical structure, their divergent paths lead to vastly different applications. Food-grade propylene glycol is used extensively in beer brewing, winemaking, and creating cold treats like ice cream. However, it is also used in more industries than you may expect, playing a pivotal role in pharmaceutical formulations, beauty products, pet care items, e-liquids for vapes, and even within the hallowed chambers of cigar storage units.


In pharmaceuticals, food-grade propylene glycol serves as a versatile solvent and stabilizing agent. Its hygroscopic nature allows it to absorb and retain water, making it an effective component in certain medications. By ensuring a stable and consistent environment for active pharmaceutical ingredients, propylene glycol contributes to the reliability and efficacy of medications.

Beauty Products

Within the cosmetic and personal care industry, food-grade propylene glycol acts as a humectant, attracting and retaining moisture. This makes it a valuable ingredient in products such as lotions, creams, and serums. Its ability to maintain hydration in skincare formulations contributes to the smooth texture and enhanced moisturizing properties of these beauty products.

Pet Foods and Vet Products

Food-grade propylene glycol is utilized in pet foods and veterinary products for its ability to preserve moisture and improve texture. Additionally, it can serve as a carrier for certain flavors and nutrients, enhancing the palatability of pet foods. Its safe and non-toxic properties make it suitable for inclusion in products designed for the well-being of animals.

E-Liquids for Vapes

In the realm of vaping, food-grade propylene glycol acts as a base for e-liquids. Its low viscosity and ability to produce vapor make it an ideal component in vape formulations. Propylene glycol also contributes to the even distribution of flavors and nicotine. 


Within cigar humidors, food-grade propylene glycol is employed in the form of a solution to regulate humidity levels. Humidors use a propylene glycol-based solution to maintain a specific level of moisture in the air, preventing cigars from drying out or becoming overly moist. The controlled humidity ensures that cigars retain their flavor, aroma, and quality over time.

Food-Grade Doesn't Always Mean Ingestible

While the term "food-grade" suggests suitability for ingestion, it primarily indicates a higher level of purity and safety. Many products intended for human or animal use, whether ingested or not, require food-grade quality to ensure safety and regulatory compliance. 

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