Just a few weeks after appearing to give the go-ahead, the Food and Drug Administration reversed course on ethanol plants manufacturing hand sanitizer. 

An Agri-Pulse report says many of the nation’s ethanol plants spent a lot of money to make changes to their machinery that would allow them to produce hand sanitizer, a valuable commodity to have during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Just weeks later, the FDA reversed its initial guidance that relaxed alcohol regulations for hand sanitizer production.  

FDA said in its new policy guidelines that “because of the potential for the presence of potentially harmful impurities during the processing approach, fuel or technical grade ethanol should only be used if it meets the appropriate guidelines.” 

Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, tells Agri-Pulse that the new guidance contradicts language that was published in late March. 

“It’s just a few weeks later and FDA is changing the rules midstream and we don’t understand why,” Cooper says. “We haven’t heard of any issues or concerns from any of the customers or buyers of this alcohol.”