The Low Down on This Fireball Recall
For those of us who have woken up on a Saturday morning feeling as if literal balls of fire were passing through our system, it came as no surprise to hear that Fireball, the popular cinnamon flavored liquor, was recalled in some European countries for its differentiating properties: having too much of a crazy sounding chemical called propylene glycol in it. The news media soon informed us that this chemical is also used in some formulas of antifreeze — and for those still feeling the burn, the world now made a lot more sense.
What didn’t really make sense is why only the Europeans were being saved from having their insides anti-frozen. It turns out that, like with most things, the Europeans have higher standards for food and drug regulation than we do, and this includes the amount of propylene glycol that they allow in beverages.
According to the Fireball people, someone in the shipping department messed up and accidently sent a batch of the American recipe, which has higher amounts of PG, to Europe. The Europeans, specifically those in Norway, Sweden and Finland, hopped off their cross-country skis, had a quick conversation about stupid Americans, and then recalled the liquor.
Sazerac, the company that owns Fireball, released a press release saying, “Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey assures its customers that the product is perfectly safe to drink. There is no recall in North America.” They called the problem a “small recipe-related compliance issue.”
Despite this well worded release, it is hard to not remain skeptical. The Fireball people, however, are not lying, as PG is actually FDA approved and appears in many food and cosmetics products. It is known as a GRAS, or a Generally Recognized As Safe food additive. The "generally" part of this still doesn’t sound too awesome, but according to the FDA website, PG is perfectly safe for humans in small amounts and breaks down in the body in about 48 hours. Sazerac has also said that they only use one-eighth of the FDA-approved amount of PG in its American recipe, so college students and weekend warriors alike can rejoice and continue to enjoy their favorite fiery beverage without fear.