The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a statement on Monday requesting that hand sanitizer manufacturers add a bitter ingredient to their products to ensure it tastes “unpalatable” to anyone that tries drinking it, reports the New York Post.
FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., said in a statement shared on the agency’s official website that it was essential to create hand sanitizer that is not appealing to anyone — particularly small children — to dissuade them from ingesting the product.
Hahn clarified that hand sanitizers are “not proven to treat COVID-19” and should not be ingested or injected.
According to the FDA, the agency has approved more than 1,500 manufacturers to move forward in producing hand sanitizer to ensure the supply can meet the current demands amid the pandemic. Hahn is urging these manufacturers and more to consider adding a bitter ingredient to their products to make it as unsavory as possible.
His comments come on the heels of President Donald Trump’s recent press conference, where the president discussed the possibility of injecting disinfectants to eliminate the coronavirus.
Since Trump made those remarks, multiple states have fielded hundreds of calls from people wondering if it is safe to consume disinfectants in any capacity.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, one Kansas man drank a cleaning product after following some “advice he had received.”
The White House has since tried to walk back Trump’s comments and asserted that the media misinterpreted them. The president himself has said he was being sarcastic when he spoke of injecting disinfectants.
While Trump’s remarks may be controversial, the rise in poisoning cases started before what he said went viral.
Newsweek reports that “the National Poison Data System received 79 percent more calls related to hand sanitizer in March 2020 than the same period last year,” with most cases involving children 5 years old and below.
One particular incident referenced by the FDA’s statement disclosed the case of a 13-year-old “who drank hand sanitizer after it had been packaged in a liquor bottle by a distiller.”
The drink allegedly tasted like regular alcohol because it had not been denatured. Denaturants create a bitter taste and therefore, would make drinking them unappealing.
“This approach is consistent with the FDA’s policies prior to the COVID-19 pandemic on including denatured alcohol in hand sanitizer and is even more important now as more consumers rely on its use as a mitigation tool against the deadly virus.”
Along with asking companies to add denatured alcohol to their products, the FDA is also warning against making “false promises,” including the use of unverified claims in advertising.