Flooding social media sites of late was news of the overseas recall of Fireball Whiskey. Recently, some retailers in Sweden and Finland have pulled Fireball from their shelves due to the amount of propylene glycol found in the liquor. For those who don’t know about Fireball, it’s a cheap, but delicious, sugary sweet cinnamon liquor. Of late, Fireball has taken college campuses, tailgates, and even weddings, by storm. Need proof? According to Bloomberg Business, in 2013, Fireball posted $61 million in sales, up from $1.9 million in 2011. While Fireball has run into an issue in the European Union, it will most likely remain available in the United States. Here, the FDA allows for a maximum content by weight of 5.0 percent of propylene glycol in alcoholic beverages. However, the European Union only allows for a maximum level of .1 percent in final foodstuffs.
What is propylene glycol? According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, propylene glycol is a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water and, among other things, it is a base for deicing solutions. The FDA has classified propylene glycol as an additive that is “generally recognized as safe” for use in foods. Further, according to the FDA, there is no evidence in the available information on propylene glycol that demonstrates, or suggests reason to suspect, a hazard to the public when they are used at levels that are now current or that might reasonably be expected in future.
On its website, Fireball states that the propylene glycol has been used in more than 4,000 food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic products for more than 50 years and that propylene glycol is used in Fireball in very small quantities, less than 1/8th the amount allowed by the FDA. Further, according to Mr. Fireball, “all Fireball formulas are absolutely safe to drink and the use of propylene glycol in Fireball creates no health risks whatsoever.”
Therefore, while it appears that the sale of the syrupy sweet liquor may have run into some hiccups in some Nordiac countries. It does not appear as though the supply in the United States will dry up anytime soon. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and update as necessary.