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US regulators want hand sanitiser to taste worse so people won’t drink it

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Last month, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received a report that a 13-year-old consumed hand sanitiser packaged in a liquor bottle by a distiller.

The alcohol wasn’t denatured, so it tasted like regular drinking liquor, according to the FDA.

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Now the agency is asking US companies to make sure that their sanitisers taste disgusting.




“It is important that hand sanitiser be manufactured in a way that makes them unpalatable to people, especially young children, and that they are appropriately labeled to discourage accidental or intentional ingestion,” FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said in a statement.

Companies around the country, many of them distilleries, have switched gears to meet a demand for hand sanitiser during the coronavirus pandemic, including the makers of Klipdrift and the Spier winery in South Africa.

In the US more than 1,500 new companies have registered with the FDA to produce the cleanser in the past few months.




In response to the more flexible temporary FDA rules that are aimed at meeting the demand for sanitisers, American industry leaders and congressional members have reached out to the FDA over the need for companies to use denatured alcohol for their sanitisers.

Hand sanitiser helps fight the coronavirus, but young children have been ingesting it.




The number of calls made last month to America’s National Poison Data System last related to hand sanitiser increased by 79% compared to March 2019, the statement said. Most of the calls involved unintentional exposures in children 5-years-old and younger.

Ingesting even a small amount of hand sanitiser can be fatal for young children, according to the FDA.

“Adding denaturants to the alcohol renders the product more bitter and less appealing to ingest, particularly for young children,” the FDA said in a statement. “While the agency understands the economic and business reasons behind foregoing this step in the manufacturing process, such an approach undermines the agency’s mission of helping to ensure the safety of FDA-regulated products for consumer use, which is the FDA’s top priority.”




In addition to how the sanitiser is made, the agency is also reminding businesses to make sure their bottles are in compliance with regulations.

The agency has also found some companies making false claims about what the cleanser can do.

It sent a warning letter to Prefense LLC for selling its product with claims it could protect users from germs “with just one application per day.”

The company’s webpage also states that Prefense can, “protect you from pathogens up to 24 hours or for 10 hand washes,” according to the FDA.




“The FDA is not aware of any evidence that hand sanitizer products can protect consumers for 24 hours or after multiple hand-washings,” the statement said. “These types of claims may put consumers at risk by leading to a false sense of security and resulting in infrequent hand washing or hand sanitizing.”

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CORONAVIRUS CASES

Live Updates COVID-19 CASES
  • World 19,697,932
    World
    Confirmed: 19,697,932
    Active: 6,331,479
    Recovered: 12,639,505
    Death: 726,948
  • USA 5,118,630
    USA
    Confirmed: 5,118,630
    Active: 2,333,973
    Recovered: 2,620,124
    Death: 164,533
  • South Africa 545,476
    South Africa
    Confirmed: 545,476
    Active: 140,808
    Recovered: 394,759
    Death: 9,909
  • Nigeria 45,687
    Nigeria
    Confirmed: 45,687
    Active: 12,114
    Recovered: 32,637
    Death: 936
  • Kenya 25,837
    Kenya
    Confirmed: 25,837
    Active: 13,520
    Recovered: 11,899
    Death: 418
  • Australia 20,698
    Australia
    Confirmed: 20,698
    Active: 9,100
    Recovered: 11,320
    Death: 278
  • South Sudan 2,463
    South Sudan
    Confirmed: 2,463
    Active: 1,241
    Recovered: 1,175
    Death: 47
  • Uganda 1,267
    Uganda
    Confirmed: 1,267
    Active: 146
    Recovered: 1,115
    Death: 6
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