Europe, fearing chemical, pulls Fireball off shelves

The manufacturer of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is seeking to downplay a European recall of the popular beverage, describing the action as a “small recipe-related compliance issue” and insisting its product is safe to drink.

“There is no recall in North America,” Fireball’s maker said in a statement released as news spread that the drink was being pulled from stores in Finland, Norway and Sweden. “Fireball fans can enjoy their favorite product as they always have.”

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The regulatory action in Europe centers on the chemical propylene glycol, which is an ingredient in Fireball — and antifreeze.

Food and Drug Administration regulations allow the use of propylene glycol in alcoholic beverages, as long as it does not exceed 5 percent. European rules are more stringent.

Fireball manufacturer Sazerac accordingly uses a different recipe for its European markets to comply with the tighter regulations. The current flap reportedly was caused by the accidental shipment of the North American version overseas.

“Late last week, Sazerac, the makers of Fireball, was contacted by its European bottler regarding a small recipe-related compliance issue in Finland,” the firm said in its statement.

Sazerac officials stressed that there are different regulations in Europe for a host of food and beverage product formulations, “which explains why recipes for products like soft drinks, alcohol/spirits and even candies and confections are slightly different than their North American counterparts.”