The Food and Drug Administration is warning the public about alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are packaged in food and drink containers and could put consumers “at risk of serious injury or death” if ingested.
The agency learned that some hand sanitizers are being packaged in beer cans, vodka bottles, water bottles, juice bottles and children’s food pouches. It has also discovered hand sanitizers with food flavors such as chocolate or raspberry, according to a press statement released Thursday.
“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 Dr. Stephen Hahn said. “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.”
In one instance, the FDA received a report that a consumer purchased what they thought was a water bottle but was actually hand sanitizer. The FDA received another report from a retailer about a hand sanitizer product marketed in what resembled a snack pouch with children’s cartoons.
Hand sanitizers can be toxic when consumed. Drinking only a small amount of hand sanitizer could be possibly lethal to a young child. The FDA has seen an increasing number of adverse incidents with hand sanitizer ingestion including hospitalizations, cardiac effects and death that have been reported to poison control centers and state health departments.
The public can report adverse events or quality issues with hand sanitizers to the FDA’s Medwatch Adverse Event reporting program by clicking here: https://www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch-fda-safety-information-and-adverse-event-reporting-program.