Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, is a colorless and odorless liquid that is commonly used in the food industry. Ethanol has been produced through the fermentation of sugars for thousands of years, and it remains the most common way to produce both beverage and industrial ethanol. The enzyme zymase, found in yeast, is responsible for converting simple sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide. The simple structure of the ethanol molecule makes it a promising alternative biofuel to fossil fuels. However, the raw materials used for bioethanol production, such as corn stover and wheat straw, can be expensive, and the use of food crops like sugar cane or corn to produce ethanol can be problematic due to the competition with food and feed production.
According to the EPCRA regulations, ethanol that is added to foods or alcoholic beverages is exempt from the reporting requirements under Section 312 of the EPCRA. This exemption is provided under Section 311(e)(1) of the EPCRA. Since ethanol is considered a food additive and is regulated by the FDA, it is exempt from the EPCRA Section 312 reporting requirements.
The EPCRA regulations require facilities to report hazardous chemicals to local authorities. If a substance is used in a way that complies with FDA regulations, the EPA considers that substance to be under FDA regulation. The FDA regulates ethanol as a food ingredient, specifically in pizza crust at levels not to exceed 2.0% and as a preservative in croissant fillings at a level of 0.3%. Ethanol is exempt from the EPCRA Section 312 reporting requirements if used in accordance with these FDA regulations. However, ethyl alcohol that is produced in the manufacture of beer, wine, and distilled spirits is not regulated by the FDA but rather by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
Here are some things that consumers should know about the uses of ethanol in the food industry:
While ethanol is generally regarded as safe for use in the food industry, it is important to note that some individuals may be sensitive to it and experience adverse reactions. Excessive consumption of ethanol-containing products can lead to intoxication, liver damage, and other health issues. Additionally, some individuals may be sensitive to ethanol and experience adverse reactions.
In conclusion, as a consumer, it is important to be aware of the various uses of ethanol in the food industry and its potential impact on your health and the environment. It is recommended to consume ethanol-containing products in moderation and always follow the recommended guidelines for safe use. Additionally, if you have any concerns or questions about the use of ethanol in food products, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional or regulatory agency. It is important for consumers to stay informed and make informed choices about the products they consume.