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Seeking Help with GRAS

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Does anyone have advice on navigating the GRAS list for gin botanicals?

I've looked at both of these links so far:



Why are these two lists different? While they acknowledge that the lists are not all encompassing, there are some things that are not on there that we know are in some gins out there (ex. cucumber, apple mint, birch leaves). is there a way to get a straightforward answer if a botanical is acceptable before sending a formula? Or do you just shoot your shot and send a formula and hope for acceptance?

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Regarding cucumber and apple - very commonly used foods are not included on the lists.  They tend to focus more on things like spices, flavors, additives, etc.  I imagine if you wanted to flavor your gin with pork belly, it would be approved (by the TTB, maybe not your customers).  But yes, this makes for a very gray area.


21 CFR 182.1(a) - It is impracticable to list all substances that are generally recognized as safe for their intended use. However, by way of illustration, the Commissioner regards such common food ingredients as salt, pepper, vinegar, baking powder, and monosodium glutamate as safe for their intended use. This part includes additional substances that, when used for the purposes indicated, in accordance with good manufacturing practice, are regarded by the Commissioner as generally recognized as safe for such uses.

Mint a bit more complex, since there are many different plants called "mint" or sub variant of.  That's why you see Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) and Spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) called out.  So, in the case of mint, it better fall to one of these two.

On the Birch Leaves - My gut is that it'll get flagged, this is not a common food ingredient.  Meaning if you want to use them, you'll need to make a substantial investment to get them approved:


Butterfly Pea Flower is a good example of one that many of us have been following for a few years.  It was an ingredient not on the GRAS list, not specifically approved, but commonly used outside of the US.  Interestingly enough, it was used in cocktails by many, many establishments for years, despite *NOT* being permitted.  A commercial entity make the investment in time and effort to get the approval.  This was despite the fact that butterfly pea was occasionally used as an ingredient in food in some asian countries historically.


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