Ethanol Plants Seek Rule Changes to Resupply Sanitizer
Federal regulators preventing producers from providing millions of gallons of alcohol
As hospitals and nursing homes desperately search for hand sanitizer amid the coronavirus outbreak, federal regulators are preventing ethanol producers from providing millions of gallons of alcohol that could be transformed into the germ-killing mixture, reports ABC News.
The problem for the ethanol industry is that most plants make food-grade ethanol, one step below the highest pharmaceutical grade. But since the plants aren't certified to comply with stringent production standards designed to protect quality of medicines, food ingredients and dietary supplements, the FDA doesn't want the alcohol used for a product to be applied to the skin.
In addition, the alcohol is not denatured or mixed with a bitter additive to make it undrinkable. The FDA insists this step is “critical” because of cases of poisoning, sometimes fatal, among young children who have accidentally ingested hand sanitizers.
For ethanol producers relaxed rules, including a requirement of the hard-to-acquire denaturant, would allow them to step in an help in a national emergency.
Read the full report at ABC News.