After a batch of Fireball Whiskey was recalled from Finland, Norway, and Sweden for containing a particular chemical of which the EU is not fond, the company is doing everything possible to reassure American consumers that no, they are not drinking anti-freeze-flavored whiskey.
See, Fireball has two formulas: one for the US and Canada that contains a chemical called propylene glycol, and one for the European market which has a much lower level of the same chemical compound. Why isn't Europe fond of the ingredient? Because it also has industrial uses, including being a key ingredient in anti-freeze. So when the wrong batch got sent to the EU, the aforementioned Scandinavian countries were less than pleased. In the wake of this, Fireball is really, really keen to reassure people that there is nothing dangerous about the North American version of the drink.
OK, as funny as this whole situation is (it's always hilarious to watch any corporation have to tap-dance on quicksand when it comes to an allegation like "your cinnamon whiskey is filled with anti-freeze"), it's important to note that propylene glycol is actually perfectly safe in small quantities; they've done studies with lab rats where as much as 5% of their feed consisted of propylene glycol, and they displayed no ill effects, and the quantities in Fireball are nowhere close to that prevalent. It's entirely safe to ingest for humans and most animals.* Propylene glycol is an ingredient in lots of things, and Fireball is hardly the only food to make use of it as a sweetener — it's often used in things like soda, margarine, beer, and ice cream. You've probably eaten it some time in the last week without even realizing it.
Moreover, as noted above, the European version of Fireball still contains propylene glycol — the EU version simply has 1g/kg, while the US version contains slightly less than 8g/kg. As noted, that's still way, way, WAY less than even the safe threshold of 5% propylene glycol.
Fireball is absolutely correct: their product no more contains anti-freeze than Subway's bread ever contained yoga mats.** Chemicals have a variety of uses, and it serves no one other than ill-informed bloggers to panic just because something that can be used as an industrial solvent can also be used in food. Hell, baking soda is surprisingly effective at getting hard-to-remove stains out of countertops, and I've never heard anyone running around shouting "CAKE IS POISON!"
Granted, Fireball still tastes like a cinnamon-flavored asshole, but you can at least rest assured that it's a cinnamon-flavored asshole that isn't filled with anti-freeze.
Update: The original version of this story said the EU version of Fireball contained no propylene glycol. This turned out to be incorrect.
* Except cats. It is incredibly dangerous to cats. Go figure.
** There are SO many reasons and ways to criticize Subway, and Vani Hari picked that one? Come on. You could go with the fact that their bread tastes like leavened sadness and their avocado is repurposed peat moss, or you could talk about their horrible employment practices, or you could just rag on that smarmy, insufferable asshole Jared. It's a target-rich environment, and Hari managed to do the equivalent of hitting the floor in a room walled with dartboards.
Image via Fireball Whiskey/Facebook.