FDA warns against hand sanitizers that look like drinks

FILE PHOTO: Hand sanitizer sits on the counter at Cheerleaders Gentlemen's Club, which received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from the Small Business Administration, in Gloucester City, New Jersey, U.S. July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Rachel Wisniewski

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday warned of alcohol-based sanitizers being packaged and sold in containers that appear like food or drinks.

At a time when health agencies are pushing for better hand hygiene to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, the top health regulator found many hand sanitizers look like beer cans, children’s food pouches, water bottles, juice bottles and vodka bottles.

Some of them were being sold with cartoons for children and had added food flavors such as chocolate or raspberry.

“These products could confuse consumers into accidentally ingesting a potentially deadly product,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement.

He warned against adding scents with food flavors to hand sanitizers as it would lead to children mistaking it for food and result in alcohol poisoning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has backed use of sanitizers if soap and water are not available, has reported several cases of methanol poisoning, some even fatal, caused by swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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