- Associated Press - Friday, December 23, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is advising consumers not to drink a product from a Minneapolis distillery because it uses “non-food grade tanned leather” in its production.

The agency issued the consumer notice Thursday afternoon, demanding Norseman Distillery immediately stop producing its Leathered Aquavit.

“Consumers who purchased this product should not consume it and should discard of the product,” the department wrote in a news release.

Owner Scott Ervin said he was surprised when the agency sent him an email shortly after because state and federal officials had already approved the product, including its formula and labeling.

“It’s one of our most popular spirits and now I suppose it will be the rarest spirit,” Ervin said.

According to Ervin, during production the leather is dipped into the liquor and then removed before filtering and bottling. Norseman dipped the leather for flavoring and began distributing it this month

“It’s not really an ingredient,” he said. He added that there are no dyes in the leather Norseman uses.

The department said a consumer complaint brought the ingredient to its attention. Ervin said the state agency plans to empty the warehouse of Norseman’s distributor Friday.

No illnesses related to the project have been reported. It bears a label alerting consumers to its ingredients.

Aquavit is a spirit made from potatoes or grain.

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