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Don’t Worry, Fireball Isn’t Actually Poison

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On Tuesday, news broke that Finland was banning the cinnamon flavored whisky drink, Fireball, due to its potentially poisonous contents. The drink contains traces of propylene glycol (PG), which is also found in antifreeze and is a common snack food preserver. So, Thursday’s happy hour is not ruined. Rest easy, America.

Finland’s food laws are much stricter than America’s, because Americans quite literally do not give two shits about what they put inside their bodies, especially when it comes to alcohol. Regardless, Fireball is 100% safe to consume and Fireball’s parent company, Sazerac, released a statement on Wednesday:

Earlier this week a story appeared in the press in Finland regarding a product recall in that country.

Our response below elaborates as well as puts the story in perspective and quashes any rumors about the North American market and the product’s safety.

Late last week Sazerac was contacted by its European bottler regarding a small recipe-related compliance issue in Finland.

The original Fireball recipe originated in Canada and the U.S. The recipe is fully compliant with all U.S. and Canadian rules and regulations and always has been. Given the explosive growth of Fireball we started receiving strong demand from Europe.

Europe, as with many things, has different regulations for product formulation and hence there is a different formula for Europe.

It appears that the North American formula was shipped to Europe and one ingredient was found to be out of compliance with European regulations. Finland, Sweden and Norway have asked to recall those specific batches, which is what we are doing.

The ingredient in question is propylene glycol (PG). PG is a regularly used and perfectly safe flavoring ingredient.

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 or alcoholic beverages.

The ingredient is “generally recognized as safe (GRAS)” by the U.S. 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 flavor in very small quantities, less than 1/8th of the amount allowed by US FDA regulations.

All Fireball formulas are absolutely safe to drink and the use of PG in Fireball creates no health risks whatsoever. There is no issue with the product in North America, and obviously no recall has or will occur.

Unfortunately, but perhaps predictably in light of Fireball’s success, Sazerac has learned of efforts to spread incomplete or misleading information about this event to our valued customers in North America. Sazerac will respond forcefully to any such activity, and will pursue its legal remedies to the fullest extent of the law should the activity continue.

**UPDATE

Our headline was inaccurate on Tuesday and we are recanting the story. Fireball is in fact, not poisonous. The ingredient of propylene glycol is safe to consume.

Sazerac’s legal team had this to say:

Propylene glycol has different grades – a consumer product grade and an industrial grade.  The consumer product grade is commonly used as a perfectly safe additive in food products such as salad dressings, ice creams, popcorns, and pastries, and in toiletry products like hair gels, lotions, mouthwash, and toothpastes.  This grade is used in Fireball in very small amounts, as it is used in thousands of other food and beverage products.  It poses no health risk.  The industrial use of propylene glycol is entirely different than its use in consumer products, a distinction lost in your author’s attempt to sensationalize the story by asserting that Fireball is “basically poison.”

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Brian McGannon

What do I love? I love happy hour, a good golf tan, and getting moderately drunk during dinner.

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