Fireball pulls whiskey after EU regulation breach

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Fireball whiskey recalled
Fireball whiskey recalled

Related tags European union

Fireball whiskey has recalled products in three EU countries which breached regulations after shipping its drink there meant for North America.

Sazerac, the makers of Fireball, was contacted by its European bottler last week after propylene glycol (PG) was found in too high a content for EU regulations.

Finland, Sweden and Norway have recalled the specific batches but the firm said it anticipates being back on the shelves within three weeks.

Product formulation regulations

The batches of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey affected used the North American formula which means it is does not meet EU regulations.

The ingredient is “generally recognized as safe (GRAS)” by the US Food and Drug Administration up to 50 grams per KG.

In Canada, its use is limited to “good manufacturing practice” with no defined numerical limit.

It is used in the Fireball flavour in less than 1/8 of the amount allowed by FDA regulations.

In Europe, propylene glycol is regulated by Directive No 95/2/EC and E number E1520.

In flavorings for beverages, with the exception of cream liqueurs, it is allowed with a maximum allowed level of 1 gram per litre.

Regulations for the product formulation are different in Europe, which explains why recipes for products like soft drinks, alcohol/spirits and even candies and confections are slightly different than their North American counterparts​,” said the firm.

Use of PG in antifreeze

Some media reported the drink was pulled from shelves and focusssed on the use of PG which is also used in antifreeze.

In a statement the firm attempted to quash the rumours about product safety.

“The ingredient in question was propylene glycol (PG). PG is a regularly used and perfectly safe flavoring ingredient,” ​said Fireball.

“PG has been used in more than 4,000 food, beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products for more than 50 years.

“Most people consume PG every day in soft drinks, sweeteners, some foods and alcoholic beverages.”

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