Food and drug dept warns against substandard sanitizing agents

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The Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD), on Friday, warned that any manufacturer, importer, wholesaler, distributor or retailer found in the practice of diluting any sanitizing agent or marketing a sanitizing agent that is substandard (less than 60% ethyl alcohol or 70-75% Isopropanol) will be prosecuted according to the laws of Guyana Food and Drug Act Chapter 34:03 Part III Section 10 and the Food and Drug Regulation, Regulation 72.

Following is the full statement from the Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department:

The Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) wishes to remind manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, and distributors of cleaning and sanitizing agents; particularly bactericidal liquid / soap and hand sanitizers and / or other sanitizing agents of the following:

  1. Manufacturers must first obtain a license from the GA-FDD before releasing for sale bactericidal liquid / soap or sanitizing agents on our local market.
  2. Labels of locally manufactured bactericidal liquid / soap or sanitizing agents must first be approved by the GA-FDD and must state clearly the bactericidal agent or % strength of the sanitizing ingredient used.
  3. Importers and distributors of sanitizing agents must first obtain an Import Permit to import or distribute bactericidal liquid / soap or sanitizing agents on our local market from the GA-FDD.
  4. Labels of these products must satisfy or be consistent with the labeling requirements of the GA-FDD, stating clearly the bactericidal agent or % strength of sanitizing agent used.

The washing of hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is essential, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing one’s nose.  In cases where soap and water are not readily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol is also effective.  The serious public health threat / emergency posed by the COVID-19 virus in our society has resulted in the proliferation of the sale and marketing of these items in Guyana.

The department will actively monitor bactericidal agents by use of standard methodology such as the phenol coefficient test to determine efficacy in our microbiological laboratory. Sanitizing agents will be monitored to determine the percentage alcohol volume/volume (% alc. v/v) in our excise laboratory. This is to ensure that these items are safe and efficacious, particularly during this period when bactericidal liquid / soap and sanitizing agents play a key and critical role in hand hygiene.  The department is under the circumstances and in the interest of public health strongly recommending that manufacturers and importers ensure their products are compliant to guarantee effectiveness against microbial contaminants and because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

Any manufacturer, importer, wholesaler, distributor or retailer found in the practice of diluting any sanitizing agent or marketing a sanitizing agent that is substandard (less than 60% ethyl alcohol or 70-75% Isopropanol) will be prosecuted according to the laws of Guyana Food and Drug Act Chapter 34:03 Part III Section 10 and the Food and Drug Regulation, Regulation 72.

Dr. Marlan Cole MPH, DrPH

Director – Government Analyst- Food and Drug Department