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Federal change saves distilleries from being forced to pay $14,000 fee for producing hand sanitizer

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Last spring, Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling made free hand sanitizer for hospitals, nursing homes and food handlers. - COURTESY / RANGER CREEK
  • Courtesy / Ranger Creek
  • Last spring, Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling made free hand sanitizer for hospitals, nursing homes and food handlers.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) late last week said it's called off a $14,000 fee for distilleries that produced hand sanitizer during the pandemic, The Hill reports.

HHS officials said they instructed the Food and Drug Administration to halt the fee collection Thursday, two days after the agency announced plans to penalize distillers that produced sanitizer early in the pandemic.

Craft distillers such as San Antonio's Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling said they produced the product to meet shortages and that the fee would be financially devastating. Many gave away sanitizer to first responders or produced it at a loss.

“Small businesses who stepped up to fight COVID-19 should be applauded by their government, not taxed for doing so," an HHS spokesman said in a statement to The Hill. "I’m pleased to announce we have directed FDA to cease enforcement of these arbitrary, surprise user fees. Happy New Year, distilleries, and cheers to you for helping keep us safe!”

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