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Minister says there is 'no sign' of issues with other sanitisers after Virapro recall

Virapro sanitisers, which have been recalled, were in circulation in health, education and retail settings.

Image: Shutterstock/Serhii Milekhin

THE MINISTER FOR Agriculture has said that there is not “any question” of problems with other sanitisers after the recall of a sanitiser that was in circulation in  schools, health service locations, and retail.

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week in Politics, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said that no issues have been identified with sanitisers other than Virapro, which has been recalled.

“There isn’t any question or any sign of there being issues with any other hand sanitiser,” McConalogue said.

Virapro’s products have been removed from the Biocides Product Register, which means that they are no longer legal for use or sale in Ireland and needed to be removed from circulation. 

The sanistiers were on sale in some retail locations, including Circle K, and had been circulated to a number of schools and health service locations before they were recalled.

McConalogue said that there was “a withdrawal notice issued to the company on Friday 16 October, and the legal responsibility would have been on the company to follow through and withdraw that”.

He said that he had not been made aware of the withdrawal notice until the following Thursday, “at which point it had become clear the company wasn’t following through”.

“We ensured at that point that there was public notification made,” McConalogue said. “We should have pre-emptively ensured that there was a public notification and communication to everyone at the same time that the withdrawal notice was issued on 16 October.”

McConalogue said that he has sought a review of how the issue was handled and a report on why he wasn’t informed about it earlier.

On Friday, several schools were forced to close after the Department of Education issued a notice that the specific brand of hand sanitiser was being recalled.

The department has told TheJournal.ie that it is now conducting a review of other products obtained for use in schools as a “precautionary measure”.

“The Department of Education is proactively reviewing all other relevant products on its education sector procurement agreement with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as a precautionary measure and this work is ongoing,” a spokesperson for the department said.

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Over one million units of Virapro sanitisers had already been issued to health service locations around the country before the recall was made.

Of three million Virapro sanitisers obtained by the HSE, two million have been placed in quarantine.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, the HSE said that 1,036,074 units of the sanitiser had already been issued to health service locations.

 “This represents less than 10% of HSE stock and there is ample stock available in HSE storage to replace it,” the HSE said.

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