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March 20, 2020 | Corn Refiners Association
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Corn Refiners Ensure Continued Supply of Hand Sanitizer

Corn-based alcohol used in making of hand sanitizers

In light of the ongoing public health crisis, today the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) and its members are reassuring consumers of the continued production and supply of corn-based alcohol used in the making of hand sanitizers.

“America’s corn refiners are producing trainloads of industrial alcohol on a daily basis.  There has been no shortfall in meeting alcohol orders for production of hand sanitizers or other health related sanitizing products.  The distribution system is quickly catching up with the surge in demand for these products,” said John Bode, President & CEO of the Corn Refiners Association. “To facilitate that catch-up and ensure that everyone has the supply of these products that they need, we ask that 1) consumers avoid hoarding practices and 2) local and state governments ensure that their well-intentioned policies not limit work of critical infrastructure personnel in the production and distribution of health and food products. We greatly appreciate the work of the federal government to provide guidance on maintenance of critical infrastructure operations.”

In the production of hand sanitizers, cornstarch is converted to glucose and combined with yeast to produce ethanol, a main ingredient in many hand sanitizers. Toiletries and cosmetics, which include hand sanitizer, account for almost a quarter of U.S. end-markets for industrial alcohol.

Beyond hand sanitizer, in many cases, one-quarter of hand soap’s ingredients are corn-based, including corn oil and products made from bioprocessing. For example, xanthan gum thickens and stabilizes soap.

The Corn Refiners Association continues to work in close coordination with food and agriculture industry allies to ensure the safe and secure supply chains. 

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