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After Nordic Recall, Sazerac Seeks To Calm Concerns Over Fireball Formula

October 30, 2014

Fireball may be the hottest spirits brand in the U.S. market, but it’s been pulled from shelves in several European countries due to ingredient concerns. Finland, Sweden and Norway asked Fireball owner Sazerac Co. to recall batches of the cinnamon whisky-based liqueur because its formula exceeded the amount of propylene glycol permissible under regulations in those three markets.

Propylene glycol (PG) is a synthetic liquid used in a number of industrial, chemical and food products for coloring and flavor. While the Food and Drug Administration has said the chemical is “generally recognized as safe” at up to 50 grams per kilogram in U.S. food products, Finland, Sweden and Norway—like other European markets—maintain a maximum of three grams per kilogram.

“(PG) is used in the Fireball flavor in very small quantities, less than 1/8 of the amount allowed by U.S. F.D.A. regulations,” Sazerac said in a statement. “All Fireball formulas are absolutely safe to drink and the use of PG in Fireball creates no health risk whatsoever.”

Sazerac produces two separate versions of the liqueur for the North American and European markets as a result of the formulation differences. “It appears that the North American formula was shipped to Europe and one ingredient was found to be out of compliance with European regulations,” the company said. “Finland, Sweden and Norway have asked to recall those specific batches, which is what we are doing.” Sazerac anticipates Fireball returning to the selves in Finland, Sweden and Norway within three weeks.

The statement added that Sazerac “has learned of efforts to spread incomplete or misleading information about this event to our valued customers in North America,” and said it would “respond forcefully to any such activity, and will pursue its legal remedies to the fullest extent of the law should the activity continue.”

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