Hydrocarbons are some of the most efficient extraction solvents available on the market. Unfortunately, there is confusion and misinformation surrounding their safety. After reviewing Butane, Isobutene, and Propane in their pure form, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed these ingredients on the list of direct food substances affirmed as “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS)
Hydrocarbons are an entire family of molecules composed of just 2 atoms – hydrogen and carbon. Some famous family members include methane, propane, hexane, and butane. If these sound familiar, it’s no coincidence. Hydrocarbons are the primary source of combustible fuel for modern humanity!
Hydrocarbons are used in cooking spray as a propellants and are FDA Approved.
OK, now we finally have something with which to work. The propellants being used in PAM cooking spray are butane and propane, which can be liquefied at room temperature. Butane is used in cigarette lighters. Propane is used for residential heating and in portable stoves.
Are they truly safe for food applications?
Not wanting to rely solely on the FDA (sorry but our federal government thinks aspartame and artificial colors are not problematic), we turned to the European Commission. Its Scientific Committee on Food prepared an opinion on propellants in cooking sprays, back in 1999.
The acceptable residue level of propane, butane and other hydrocarbons in food is 1 milligram per 1 kilogram of food. That’s 1 part per million. In tests conducted on typical foods in a variety of temperature ranges, data consistently showed amounts “below 0.1 mg residual hydrocarbon/kg cooked food. In most cases the amounts are substantially less than 0.1 mg/kg food”.
Therefore, the committee concluded that the propane and butane posed no toxicity risk. A warning was issued, however, with respect to the fact that oil-based aerosols may carry a risk of flammability.
Above was a copy and past from many open sources on the web…