Bottle of hand sanitizer

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is so fed up with people trying to eat hand sanitizer right now that it's asking manufacturers to make it taste worse.

The FDA issued a press release in which it thanked manufacturers from various industries for helping to produce more alcohol-based sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the FDA says manufacturers helping to produce this increased supply aren't doing enough to make the product non-appealing for human consumption.

“With this increased supply comes our continued mission to ensure safety of these products. It is important that hand sanitizer be manufactured in a way that makes them unpalatable to people, especially young children, and that they are appropriately labeled to discourage accidental or intentional ingestion," says Stephen Hahn, M.D., commissioner of the FDA. "Additionally, hand sanitizers are not proven to treat COVID-19, and like other products meant for external use, are not for ingestion, inhalation, or intravenous use.”

The FDA asks that alcohol-based hand sanitizer be made with denatured alcohol, thus giving it a bitter taste that's less appealing to consume for children, teens and young adults.

"While the agency understands the economic and business reasons behind foregoing this step [denaturing] in the manufacturing process, such an approach undermines the agency’s mission of helping to ensure the safety of FDA-regulated products for consumer use, which is the FDA’s top priority," says the FDA in the press release. "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.

In April, the FDA says it became aware of a 13-year-old child drinking hand sanitizer that was packaged in a liquor bottle from a distiller. Since the hand sanitizer was not denatured, the hand sanitizer is said to have tasted like normal drinking alcohol. The FDA says the hand sanitizer in the liquor bottle didn't follow its temporary labeling policy.

The FDA says there is also an issue with hand sanitizer being sold with unproven claims put on the packaging. For example, the agency had to send a warning letter to a company for making claims related to COVID-19 on its bottle.