FSA warns against Glycerol in slush ice drinks “not suitable for under-fours


The FSA has issued new industry guidelines stating that glycerol-containing drinks, such as slush-ice,are, are not a good idea to sell to children under four.

Informing and advising the industry, Food Standards Agency (FSA) has released voluntary guidance regarding glycerol content in slush-ice beverages and has advised these drinks should not be sold to children four years or younger.

In addition, the Agency has been advising manufacturers to inform retailers to “not offer free refill promotions to under-10s” as an attempt to stop children from being exposed to excessive levels of Glycerol.

This recommendation was prompted by an FSA risk assessment results that found that children under 18 “may suffer from headaches and sickness caused by exposure to glycerol.” The Agency has stated that it has information on two instances within Scotland (in 2021 as well 2022) in which children were admitted to hospital due to glycerol intoxication.

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“At very high levels of exposure – typically when several of these products are drunk by a child in a short space of time glycerol intoxication could cause shock, hypoglycaemia and loss of consciousness,” stated the FSA.

In announcing the new guidelines, Adam Hardgrave, FSA Director of Additives, stated: “While the symptoms of the intoxication of Glycerol are generally minimal, it is vital to inform parents of the potential dangers, especially at higher levels of consumption.

“It is possible that there is a lack of reporting on Glycerol-related intoxication since parents might attribute nausea and headaches to different causes. We’re grateful to manufacturers who have made steps to lower levels of Glycerol in addition to manufacturers that have said they’ll be taking our new guidelines into consideration.”

While Glycerol is found in other food items, it is used in lesser amounts than in slush ice beverages, per the FSA. Glycerol is utilized as a sugar substitute to achieve the slush effect of drinks. The new FSA guidelines ask companies to add Glycerol only in the “minimum quantity” technically necessary to create this effect.

“Those who are over four are thought to not be ill-affected by drinking a single slush. This is due to the fact that Glycerol’s effects are linked to the weight of your body,” said the FSA.

In the future, the Agency has indicated that if the levels of Glycerol employed by the industry decline, the new guidelines for the industry may need to be revised.


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