FDA issues warning about hand sanitizers disguised as food, drinks

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(WJW) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning Americans about alcohol-based hand sanitizers that resemble food and beverages.

According to the government agency, officials have discovered that some hand sanitizers are being packaged in beer cans, children’s food pouches, water bottles, juice bottles and vodka bottles.

The FDA has also found that some hand sanitizers contain food flavors, such as chocolate or raspberry.

The agency warns that these products can put consumers at risk of serious injury or death if ingested.

“I am increasingly concerned about hand sanitizer being packaged to appear to be consumable products, such as baby food or beverages. These products could confuse consumers into accidentally ingesting a potentially deadly product. It’s dangerous to add scents with food flavors to hand sanitizers which children could think smells like food, eat and get alcohol poisoning,” FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., said in a press release.

The organization is proactively working with manufacturers to recall potentially dangerous hand sanitizer products and strongly encourages retailers to remove these products from store shelves and online marketplaces.

“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. The FDA continues to monitor these products and we’ll take appropriate actions as needed to protect the health of Americans,” added Hahn.

The FDA has continued to see an increasing number of cases involving hand sanitizer ingestion as the product has gained popularity during the coronavirus pandemic. Some patients have experienced numerous issues including cardiac effects, effects on the central nervous system, hospitalizations and death.

The FDA adds that drinking only a small amount of hand sanitizer can be potentially lethal to a young child.

For more information, Americans should refer to the FDA’s guidelines on safe use of hand sanitizer as well as the organization’s question and answer page.

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