FDA deals ethanol latest blow with new sanitizer guidelines

The Food and Drug Administration has delivered the latest blow to ethanol demand.

Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper says the industry had been working with the FDA to develop some clear rules so ethanol producers could begin producing alcohol for hand sanitizer.

“Well, on Wednesday we inexplicably get new guidance from FDA that just really muddied the waters and added a lot of confusion about what is and isn’t allowed in terms of alcohol used for hand sanitizer.”

The FDA’s updated guidelines say “because of the potential for the presence of potentially harmful impurities due to the processing approach, fuel or technical grade ethanol should only be used if it meets The United States Pharmacopeia or Food Chemicals Codex grade requirements.”

Cooper tells Brownfield that contradicts FDA guidance from March 27th that prompted more than two dozen ethanol plants to invest in hand sanitizer production.

“They have stepped forward in the last few weeks, produced and shipped millions of gallons of high-grade alcohol for hand sanitizer use (and) they’ve got contracts for more. So we just need FDA to take the red tape and just kind of get out of the way.”

Cooper doesn’t understand the change and says he’s not aware of any complaints or concerns about the alcohol made by fuel ethanol plants.

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