A Warning About Popsicle Sticks

A warning about popsicle sticks--craft sticks are not food safeWith the warm summer weather, lots of bloggers have been sharing their favorite popsicle recipes.  I’m pretty sure that popsicle week may have had something to do with it, too.  Over the fourth of July weekend, Sue Chef and I decided that we should try our hand at making some homemade frozen treats.  I stopped by a large discount department store to purchase popsicle sticks and was directed to the craft aisle.  While they had large bags of inexpensive sticks that looked like the one’s that were made for popsicles, the bag clearly stated craft sticks.  a warning about popsicle sticksThere was no place on the bag to indicate that the sticks were food grade.  In spite of a sales associate claiming that they were fine for making popsicles, we didn’t buy them.  I did, however, write down the contact information for the craft stick company that was on the bag and sent off an email as soon as I got home that day.

healthy popsicles in moldsWe made our popsicles in freezer molds that I picked up at the dollar store, so no stick was required.  When we made some others in small paper cups, we used straws that were cut in half as the stick.  (This didn’t work as well as we hoped, so I don’t recommend it.  I think that the next time, we might try small plastic spoons instead.)

Here’s a copy of the content of the email that I sent to the company that produced and distributed the craft sticks.

Are your craft sticks safe to be used when making popsicles?

Their response left no room for doubt:

Thank you for contacting Horizon Group USA

The craft sticks are for crafting purposes only.

This confirmed that I made the right choice when I opted to leave those craft sticks in the store.   My advice  is that you should continue to enjoy your healthy and homemade frozen treats, but make sure that any sticks you buy don’t just look like popsicle sticks.  The sticks that you use must be labeled as food safe like these available through amazon, or these from craftysticks.com.  Food safe wooden sticks can also be found in the candy making department of most large craft stores and sometimes in the produce section of your grocery store (for making caramel apples).A warning about popsicle sticks

The whole purpose of making our own, homemade, popsicles is to make healthy treats for our family, right?  We don’t want to make a choice that could risk making them sick.   Be certain that you are using the right type of wooden stick.

fruit smoothie popsicleThat’s my tip for today.  I will be posting the recipe for this Berry Swirl Popsicle in the very near future.

Until then, thanks for visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

A warning about Popsicle Sticks--not all sticks that look like popsicle sticks are food safe.

16 thoughts on “A Warning About Popsicle Sticks

  1. The popsycles look good. I made some with strawberries yesterday for my granddaughters. They’re really good!

    1. Fresh fruit popsicles are the best, aren’t they? The kids have no idea that they’re eating healthy. I hope you share your recipe on your site.

      1. Our dollar store (Five Below) has tons of suspicious looking items from companies I’ve never heard of labeled “BPA free.” I’m not so certain they really are.

        1. I trust that things are BPA free when they are labeled as such; however, being labeled BPA free isn’t necessarily a guarantee that the product is safe. While BPA has received a great deal of bad press in recent years, it’s been around since the 1890’s, and in use since since the 1930’3 or 40’s. The FDA still claims that it’s safe in the quantities that are leeched into our food. The problem with BPA replacements is that they haven’t been exhaustively tested, and according to some sources, one of these replacements is suspected of disrupting normal brain development. We each have to make our own choices about what we choose to use for ourselves and our families. I read the numbers stamped on the bottom of the plastics. #2 HDPE, #4 LDPE, and #5 PP are generally considered safer than others. My dollar store popsicle molds are stamped with a #2 Those numbers are consistent regardless of who the manufacturer is. I have friends who won’t use anything made of plastic. I have one friend who won’t use anything but silicone, but another friend thinks silicone is toxic. It’s all about personal choice. Just beware of craft sticks. They aren’t food safe, and some types of wood are toxic.

  2. I probably wouldn’t have thought of this, so thanks for reminding me and taking the time to get further information to share with us.

    1. I’m not worried about the plastic molds from the dollar store for two reasons.
      1. The plastic is intended for food.
      2. These molds that I purchased indicated that they were free of BPA.
      I think I’m pretty safe using them unlike craft sticks which were clearly not intended for use with food according to the manufacturer.

  3. I have the same plastic molds and I tried to get them out the mold but all the sticks just came out of the popsicle so I’m left with 4 stick-less popsicles. How’d you get them out? I even had them in water for about 30 seconds before trying to pull it out.

    1. It takes patience. I put them into warm water for about 10 seconds, Then pulled them out. When they didn’t come out, I gently squeezed the sides of the molds. Sometimes, it’s not that they’re stuck. It’s that there’s a suction created. (Like when you try to dump out a can of cream of refried beans, and you have to stick a knife around the edge to get it to fall out of the can. You can’t get a knife into these popsicle molds because of the lids, but I have found that squeezing gently to get some air inside and pulling on the sticks at the same time works for me, but it isn’t easy. I think the next time I buy popsicle molds, I will get silicone ones that are soft, so I can squeeze them out. You can put the stickless popsicles into plastic bags and eat them like otter pops.

  4. I make popsicles all the time. I use partially frozen 12 oz very ripe banana (for creaminess and sweetness), 12 oz other fruit (my favorites are mango or pineapple but I’ve used all kinds) 1 Cup unsweetened almond milk (you get more pops and reduce calories) and if you like chocolate 4-5 T cocoa powder ( Trader Joe’s is delicious). Puree in the food processor. You can leave some chunks, if you like.
    Best way I have found to get them out of the mold is to put warm, not hot, water in the smallest pot that the mold will fit in. Fill it just enough to get up near the top of the mold without going over.
    Set the mold in the water. After about 45 seconds, start checking, pulling on the sticks. If they are not completely frozen, the stick will come out, so give them time in the freezer. Check frequently and get them out as soon as you can, before they start to melt. Pull them all out at once and put in a freezer bag. Now you can use the mold to make more.

    1. That sounds delicious. I learned the hard way about not freezing them long enough before trying to take them out of the mold. Stick-less popsicles were too messy and not a favorite with my children.

      1. I bought food grade popsicle sticks on Amazon after reading your article.
        I ended up with a box of 2,000 because of the price. Crazy, but I will use them up eventually.
        I wait until the pops are hard and fill a pot with warm water, the height of the pops. Don’t use hot water. Put them in for about 40 seconds and pull hard. They will come out clean if you get them early enough. Don’t let them melt. I take them all out at once and put in a freezer bag. Then I can use the mold again. I can’t be bothered running water over one pop at a time.

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