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Recall of potentially unsafe Virapro hand sanitisers still not completed, Minister says

A product recall was ordered on 22 October due to “possible public health concerns”.

Image: Shutterstock

THE MINISTER FOR Agriculture has said the company behind the importation of the Virapro sanitisers has not fully recalled the products as of two weeks ago.

Charlie McConalogue was speaking before an Oireachtas Committee this evening and said his department is to carry out “a full investigation” into the importation of the hand sanitiser. 

The product was imported from Turkey and confirmatory test results on 16 October found that “the composition of the registered product was not consistent with the approved specification”. 

A product recall was ordered on 22 October due to “possible public health concerns” when it the brand of hand sanitiser was found to contain excessive levels of methanol.  

Two days later, the HSE said that over three million Virapro sanitisers were obtained by the executive and that two million have been placed in quarantine. One million units were therefore to be recalled. 

Schools with stock of the products were also advised to no longer use the products

Speaking this evening, McConalogue said that almost five weeks later the recall has not been completed. 

“The responsibility for the withdrawal of products rests with the company concerned,” he said.

It had become clear by 22 October that the recall of products had not yet commenced. Officials in the Pesticide Controls Division continued to engage actively with the company to ensure a full recall could be made. However, while the company demonstrated some compliance with the recall instruction, further deadlines of 28 October and most recently 12 November for a full and verified recall of affected Virapro sanitiser products have not been met to my departments satisfaction.

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“I have taken the added step of asking the Investigations Division of the Department to carry out a full investigation in relation to the circumstances around the importation of this product,” he added.

Speaking about other hand sanitisers that are in use, the Agriculture Minister said that 75 other products have been tested randomly in the past few weeks and there have been “no public heath issues arising from those”.  

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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