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Don’t drink that! FDA issues warning on hand sanitizer packaged in food, drink containers

The FDA is warning consumers about alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are being packaged in containers that may appear as food or drinks and may put consumers at risk of serious injury or death if ingested.
The FDA is warning consumers about alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are being packaged in containers that may appear as food or drinks and may put consumers at risk of serious injury or death if ingested. (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

HOUSTON – Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many companies switched to making much-needed products like PPE and hand sanitizer.

Because they already had the containers on-hand, many of the companies that switched to making alcohol-based hand sanitizers have been packing it in containers meant for food or drink.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, hand sanitizer is being packaged in things like beer cans, water bottles, juice bottles and even vodka bottles.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it has even found some hand sanitizers that contain flavors like chocolate or raspberry, which “could confuse consumers into accidentally ingesting a potentially deadly product,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D.

“It’s dangerous to add scents with food flavors to hand sanitizers, which children could think smells like food, eat and get alcohol poisoning,” said Hahn. “Manufacturers should be vigilant about packaging and marketing their hand sanitizers in food or drink packages in an effort to mitigate any potential inadvertent use by consumers.”

According to the FDA, the agency got a recent report from someone who thought they purchased water but it was actually handed sanitizer. In another report, the FDA said a company marketed a hand sanitizer with “cartoons for children that was in a pouch that resembles a snack.”

Even a small amount of hand sanitizer could be lethal to a young child, the FDA said. It is a product that is highly toxic when ingested and can cause heart or nerve issues, hospitalizations and even death, according to the FDA.

For more information, people can read the FDA’s guidelines on safe use of hand sanitizer or check out the agency’s question and answer page.

People can also go online to see a list of hand sanitizers the FDA says people should not use.


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