FACT CHECK: No, There Is Not Antifreeze In Foods Such As Pop-Tarts, Ice Cream Or Cake Mixes

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Instagram claims food such as Pop-Tarts, ice cream and cake mixes contain antifreeze. 


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Verdict: False

There is no evidence for the claim. While some food contains small amounts of on of the ingredients used in antifreeze, it is considered safe for consumption, an FDA spokesperson confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact.

Fact Check: 

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The Instagram post claims several common foods contain a chemical that is toxic to humans. The video shows a man listing off foods he claims contain antifreeze, such as Pop-Tarts, ice cream from Blue Bunny and ColdStone Creamery, Dunkin iced teas, Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines cake mixes and Fireball whiskey.

He states these all contain propylene glycol, “the active ingredient in engine coolant, paints, varnish and enamels.”

There is no evidence for the claim, however. The speaker in the video states that the foods listed contain an ingredient called propylene glycol, which he claims to equate to antifreeze. Antifreeze usually contains ethylene glycol, methanol, and propylene glycol, but propylene glycol is a nontoxic substance, according to Medical News Today

The FDA states propylene glycol is “generally recognized as safe” for use in food, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims Hand Sanitizer Poses A Threat To Pets Because It Contains A Toxic Chemical Also Found In Antifreeze)

Contrary to the video’s claims, the ingredient lists for Pop-Tarts, Dunkin’ flavored iced teas and Fireball whisky do not contain propylene glycol. Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines cake mixes each contain 2% or less of propylene glycol, according to their websites. The ingredient is only present in 13 out of its 85  Cold Stone Creamery flavors and eight out of 103 Blue Bunny flavors. 

“The FDA is not aware of any safety issues with propylene glycol when used as authorized as an orally ingested food ingredient,” a spokesperson for the FDA told Check Your Fact via email. They also added that “propylene glycol may be safely used food in accordance with the prescribed conditions” and provided the conditions here.

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter