Re‐evaluation of propane‐1,2‐diol (E 1520) as a food additive

propane-1,2-diol, propylene glycol, E 1520, CAS No 57-55-6, food additive
First published in the EFSA Journal
5 April 2018
13 March 2018
Scientific Opinion


The EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) provides a scientific opinion re‐evaluating the safety of propane‐1,2‐diol (E 1520) when used as a food additive. In 1996, the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 25 mg/kg body weight (bw) per day for propane‐1,2‐diol. Propane‐1,2‐diol is readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal and is expected to be widely distributed to organs and tissues. The major route of metabolism is oxidation to lactic acid and pyruvic acid. At high concentrations, free propane‐1,2‐diol is excreted in the urine. No treatment‐related effects were observed in subchronic toxicity studies. The available data did not raise concern with respect to genotoxicity. Haematological changes suggestive of an increased red blood cell destruction with a compensatory increased rate of haematopoiesis were observed at the highest dose level (5,000 mg/kg bw per day) in a 2‐year study in dogs. No adverse effects were reported in a 2‐year chronic study in rats with propane‐1,2‐diol (up to 2,500 mg/kg bw per day). The SCF used this study to derive the ADI. No adverse effects were observed in the available reproductive and developmental toxicity studies. Propane‐1,2‐diol (E 1520) is authorised according to Annex III in some food additives, food flavourings, enzymes and nutrients and it is then carried over to the final food. Dietary exposure to E 1520 was assessed based on the use levels and analytical data. The Panel considered that for the food categories for which information was available, the exposure was likely to be overestimated. Considering the toxicity database, the Panel concluded that there was no reason to revise the current ADI of 25 mg/kg bw per day. The Panel also concluded that the mean and the high exposure levels (P95) of the brand‐loyal refined exposure scenario did not exceed the ADI in any of the population groups from the use of propane‐1,2‐diol (E 1520) at the reported use levels and analytical results.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Peter Aggett, Fernando Aguilar, Riccardo Crebelli, Birgit Dusemund, Metka Filipič, Maria Jose Frutos, Pierre Galtier, David Gott, Ursula Gundert‐Remy, Gunter Georg Kuhnle, Claude Lambré, Jean‐Charles Leblanc, Inger Therese Lillegaard, Peter Moldeus, Alicja Mortensen, Agneta Oskarsson, Ivan Stankovic, Ine Waalkens‐Berendsen, Rudolf Antonius Woutersen, Matthew Wright and Maged Younes.
Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food
fip [at]
EFSA Journal 2018;16(4):5235
Question Number
On request from
European Commission