A popular brand of alcohol in both the U.S. and overseas has recently been recalled for an unnerving reason… it’s content of anti-freeze.
Fireball Whisky is revered for it’s spicy cinnamon element, but surely no one suspected any of it was coming from dangerous chemicals!
Strangely enough the more lenient rules in the U.S. are promising to keep the whisky on the shelves.
So far the drink has been recalled in Finland, Sweden, and Norway. It turns out that the recalled product was actually misplaced, as it was intended for American Shelves.
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The Fireball production company Sazerac is located in New Orleans, and they said that a U.S. batch was accidentally sent over there by mistake. The recipes for the whisky differ between the two markets due to different food quality standards, and the big difference is the ingredient propylene glycol.
Propylene Glycol is actually a common food additive in the U.S., as it is used to both thicken foods and enhance flavors in things like baked goods and frozen dairy deserts. Outside of the food industry however, propylene glycol is also found in paint, plastic, de-icing fluids for aircraft, and the headline stealer, anti-freeze. Unnerving for many to say the least.
The FDA considers the current amount of propylene glycol in Fireball being used safe for consumption, although high amounts of the chemical have been found to cause kidney damage in a variety of animals and causes deformities in baby chickens.
Company spokesperson Amy Preske has assured customers that:
“…there are different grades of PG. Most consumers will be in contact with PG every day, when consuming products such as soft drinks, sweeteners, some foods, or in alcoholic beverages…. This is different than the grade used in industrial applications.”
In fact Sazerac only uses 1/8th of the amount of propylene glycol that the FDA considers safe for consumption, and it is only there to let “the flavor ingredients mix together properly”.
The European markets can expect to get their updated batches of Fireball Whisky sans propylene glycol within three weeks. Europe has a history of being much stricter about their food content guidelines than we are in the U.S. For one example, the Eurpean Food Safety Authority did away with a chemical in 2005 that the U.S. still used in Subway sanwhich bread until this year when 50,000 people signed a petition against it. The chemical was the same used in yoga mats.
For now it’s appropriate to assume that drinking Fireball Whisky is safe in moderation. Until the FDA decides to match up and withhold the standards proposed by Europe the U.S. will either have to abstain or take their chances.