Petfood Raw Materials Specialist @Purina
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Glycerol and propylene glycol are ingredients commonly used in human food and in animal food and their use is regulated to ensure complete safety. Their main function is to keep food safe where there is a need for a high level of moisture in the product.
Pet owners are looking for innovative products in terms of texture and taste to please their pets. To create a product that offers chewiness, glycerol or propylene glycol is used.
European law allows the use of glycerol as a humectant (a substance that retains or preserves moisture) in pet food, serving to retain water in the food to prevent it from drying out and to maintain a level of consistency.
Glycerol is used for example in Purina Go-Cat Crunchy & Tender to form a barrier around the pieces so they remain soft (with the softness varying over time). Likewise, glycerol prevents the humidity in the environment from affecting the kibble so that it does not lose its crunch or potentially become mouldy.
Propylene glycol is an organic compound also with humectant properties, and commonly used in foods that we eat every day, like frozen desserts, condiments and pre-packaged mixes for cakes.
It should not be confused with the highly toxic ethylene glycol (used for antifreeze), propylene glycol has a different molecular structure and therefore a different effect on human and animal health.
Current European legislation authorises the use of propylene glycol in dog food. It can be found in Purina BAKERS Meaty Meal, for example, where it creates a barrier around the tender morsels to preserve their softness (again, softness which varies over time).
At Purina, we strictly comply with the maximum levels permitted by law to ensure our products are completely safe for all pets.