3 MIN READ | Wellness

Jessica Johnson

FCC Ethanol: What Is It? Various Grades of Alcohol

Cite This
Jessica Johnson, (2021, November 23). FCC Ethanol: What Is It? Various Grades of Alcohol. Psychreg on Wellness. https://www.psychreg.org/fcc-ethanol-what-is-it-various-grades-alcohol/
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Food chemical codex (FCC) is a collection of internationally recognised standards used to determine the quality and purity of food ingredients. 

During the 1960s, the FDA had not published any formal regulations and quantity requirements for food chemicals that it recognized as ‘generally safe.’ 

Therefore, the industry liaison panel requested that the national academy of sciences food protection committee establish a food chemical code that almost matched the USP and the National Formulary.

Following the request, the institute of medicine published the first edition of the food chemical codex (FCC) for FDA in 1966. The US Pharmacopeia acquired the FCC in 2006 and started the online version in 2008. After that, the FCC is published every two years in print and online functions.

What is FCC ethanol?

FCC ethanol is any ethanol that meets the safety and quality standards set by the FCC.

What are the various grades of ethanol?

There are various grades of Ethanol available on the market today. They differ in their purity level. 

  • 95% ethanol. The highest purity that distillation can achieve is 95%. This is because 95.6% ethanol has the same Ethanol to water ratio as its liquid state.
  • Absolute ethanol (99–100%). The term ‘absolute ethanol’ refers to any ethanol that does not contain more than 1% of water. In other words, it’s 99% pure by weight. Absolute ethanol is made by adding a compound to the 95% ethanol to disrupt the azeotrope composition allowing further distillation. Thus, it may contain traces of additives or salts. Absolute Ethanol is made by fermenting sugars using yeast in a petrochemical process resulting in a water-ethanol mixture. Thus, water has to be removed to achieve pure ethanol through distillation. However, because of the small difference in the boiling point of water and Ethanol, salt has to be added to capture excess water molecules.
  • Denatured ethanol. Denatured ethanol is a mixture of either 95% ethanol or absolute ethanol with denaturants such as methyl alcohol and heptane. Adding denaturants to pure Ethanol discourages people from consuming ethanol which is hazardous. In addition, it puts it in a different tax category reducing its price. Denatured Ethanol is used in various extraction industries as a solvent and as a fuel.

What does FCC grade mean?

You may have come across several chemicals labeled FCC grade’. But what does it mean? If a chemical is labeled ‘FCC grade,’ it means it meets all the standards of safety, quality, and purity outlined by the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC). In addition, the FCC grade can identify the characteristics of certain chemicals regarding the quality of active ingredients and the absence of impurities and trace elements.

What is the difference between USP and FCC?

The US Pharmacopeia (USP) contains standards and references for medicines, supplements, and ingredients. It aims to regulate agencies and manufacturers to ensure that their products comply with quality, purity, and consistency standards. 

In addition, USP aims to improve global health through public standards and related programs to ensure the quality and safety of medicine and food.

On the other hand, the FCC is a collection of standards internationally used to determine the quality and purity of food ingredients such as nutrients, colorings, and flavours. 

It has over 1200 monographs, including food-grade chemical processing aids, food ingredients, flavoring agents, and vitamins. FCC aims to limit the introduction of foreign ingredients and contaminants at the ingredient level and serves as a quality benchmark in the global marketplace for food-grade ingredients.

What does FCC mean for chemicals?

FCC is essential for all food-grade chemicals because they have to comply with its standards of quality. The food chemical codex provides the quality standards that manufacturers and suppliers use as guidelines when purchasing industrial chemicals.

The bottom line

The food chemical codex consists of standards that determine the quality and purity of food ingredients. Thus, FCC ethanol meets the standards of the food chemical codex.  There are three grades of Ethanol, including absolute,95%, and denatured ethanol. 

Although the FCC and the USP are almost similar, the FCC sets standards for food ingredients while the USP sets standards for medicine and supplements.


Jessica Johnson works for Airmid Hemp Extracts, a leading provider of the highest quality of CBD products at the most affordable prices. 


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