Fireball Whisky Recalled in Europe

Fireball Whisky recalled in Finland, Sweden and Norway for containing too much propylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) After an accidental shipment of an American version of Fireball Whisky to Europe, three countries have recalled the product due to an ingredient in the whiskey also found in antifreeze. But Fireball says the chemical is safe for consumption.

In fact, so does the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — at least in moderation. The FDA considers propylene glycol, the ingredient in question, generally safe, according to a press release from Fireball.

The problem comes from differences in what different countries think is safe, Fireball says. The formula Fireball accidentally shipped to Finland, Sweden and Norway is approved for sale in the US, but not in those countries.

Because the formula being recalled in Europe is approved for sale in the US, a recall of Fireball Whisky in the US is not likely.

Business Insider reports that Fireball has three recipes for its whiskey that contain varying levels of propylene glycol — those recipes meet the varying rules of different countries. Propylene glycol is a common sweetener found in sodas, foods and alcoholic drinks — and also antifreeze, a chemical used in car radiators.

The fact that propylene glycol is found in antifreeze sparked Internet buzz after the recall was announced. But Fireball argues that the chemical is "perfectly safe" for consumption.

"The ingredient is 'generally recognized as safe' ... by the [FDA] up to 50 grams per [kilogram]," according to a Fireball press release. "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 the amount allowed by US FDA regulations."

But state regulations about propylene glycol are more strict in Finland, Sweden and Norway, which is why the formula for Fireball to be sent to those countries contains even less of it. When those countries received the North American Fireball formula, they asked Fireball to recall it.

Review Date: 
October 29, 2014
Last Updated:
March 10, 2015