Sazerac Co. has recalled its Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey from Sweden, Norway and Finland because some batches contain levels of flavoring chemical propylene glycol that exceed European limits. The company says that it mistakenly shipped batches to Europe that were intended for the United States, where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows higher levels for the Generally Recognized As Safe ingredient. The recall drew media attention to the regulation discrepancy, with many noting that industrialgrade propylene glycol is used in antifreeze.
The company clarified October 29, 2014, that it uses food-grade propylene glycol, which it says is also used in many other consumable products, including salad dressing, beer, ice cream, and cake. Sazerac called the ingredient “ideal for use in a large variety of flavors to give most of today’s food and beverages their distinctive taste. Flavor companies use it to carry flavor ingredients through to the final product, to preserve the integrity of the flavor and to ensure it is shelf stable.” The company also explained that it has different recipes for Europe and North America, but prefers the North American recipe and adapted it to sell the product in Europe. “Both recipes are completely safe; one is not safer than the other,” according to the press release. See Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2014; CBS News, October 30, 2014.