The World's Grossest Liquor Is Being Recalled in Europe

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Oh, what a difference a day makes. 

The Internet erupted into collective glee Monday over a viral video that showed a wedding party consuming a bottle of Fireball whiskey. Today, news broke that the cinnamon-flavored liquor has been recalled in Finland, Sweden and Norway because it doesn't comply with their regulations. 

The reason? Too much propylene glycol, an ingredient used in some kinds of antifreeze, among other things.

Wait, what? The liquor, favored by college students and people lacking taste buds everywhere, is made in two batches. One is destined for the United States and Canada, which allow for a certain amount of propylene glycol in food; the other heads to Europe, which does not. The Daily Beast reports that a shipment meant for North American markets was sent to Europe. 

"Finland, Sweden and Norway have asked to recall those specific batches, which is what we are doing," a spokeswoman told the Daily Beast

Source: dprotz/Flickr
Source: dprotz/Flickr

The Food and Drug Administration says a little bit is OK. Propylene glycol has multiple uses — industrial, cosmetic and food-related. In Amsoil, it's an antifreeze; in Fireball, according to the makers, it's used as a sweetener. The Daily Beast notes that the FDA allows a certain amount of propylene glycol in food products, up to 50 grams per kilogram. American Fireball has less than one-eighth of this amount, a spokeswoman said.

However, Europe isn't as down with the stuff; it's "not approved as a general-purpose food grade product or direct food additive for human consumption," according to one distributor. The European formula for Fireball has less than a single gram per kilogram.

"All Fireball formulas are absolutely safe to drink," the company's spokeswoman emphasized. The Centers for Disease Control declared that it's "generally regarded as safe for use in food."

Still, something that's banned in Europe — and causes enough worry that some countries are recalling products in which it's an ingredient — isn't the most comforting thought in the world, especially given its recent explosion in popularity in the States. 

Take heed, frat bros. You may want to think before you take another shot of Big Red's liquorized cousin.

Correction: Oct. 29, 2014
An earlier version of this article included the word "toxic" in the headline. That phrasing has been removed. A paragraph about the uses of propylene glycol has also been clarified.

h/t Daily Beast