Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) today joined their colleagues Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) in introducing legislation that would extend for two years the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “Temporary Policy for Preparation of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency.”
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and industries have answered the call to help their communities, including those in the ethanol and biofuels industry. As businesses shift production to create alcohol-based hand sanitizer products, they need adequate certainty that investments made by ethanol producers in changing facility processes wouldn’t be lost overnight to a sudden change in policy from FDA. I’m glad to support our ethanol and biofuels producers who are able to aid hospitals and communities around Iowa and throughout the country,” Grassley said.
“Iowans across the state have stepped up and helped out during COVID-19, and that certainly includes our biofuel producers who have used their resources to help create hand sanitizer,” Ernst said. “I’m glad that FDA has continued to listen to our concerns and those of industry, extending this guidance will ensure our hardworking producers can continue to help Iowa’s churches, restaurants, hospitals, and countless other places have access to hand sanitizer as our state reopens.”
Extending the FDA’s guidance will grant additional certainty for ethanol operations that have made investments or changes in operations to serve the current and projected need for hand sanitizer, providing a longer timeline to recoup such costs. Importantly, this will support continued production of ethanol for hand sanitizer at a time of high demand and reported shortages to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
Grassley and Ernst recently sent a letter to the FDA urging it to address the shortage of hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic and further explain its temporary policy for the manufacture of alcohol-based hand sanitizer products. The Iowa senators will continue to work with FDA to set a reasonable standard that protects public health and gives Iowa ethanol producers the flexibility to aid Iowa hospitals and communities. Their response to FDA’s current revised guidance can be found here.
Full text of the legislation can be found HERE.