Consumer advocacy group CHOICE has found a hand sanitiser sold in major retailers has failed to deliver adequate sanitisation.
A sample of the AIR Clean Instant Hand Sanitiser, sold by Mosaic Brands sanitiser failed a lab test by CHOICE, conducted following a tip off from consumers concerned over the quality of the product.
The product has been removed from sale after CHOICE reported the test found it contained 23% alcohol, considerably lower than its advertised 70% content. For a sanitiser to be effective, it must have an alcohol content between 60-80%.
It had been sold at fashion retailers including Katies, Rockmans, Rivers and Noni B, which are operated by Mosaic.
Director of Campaigns at CHOICE, Erin Turner, said ineffective sanitiser was a ‘major public health risk’ amid COVID-19.
“As a result of our spot-check on this Mosaic sample, CHOICE is now conducting further testing of sanitiser available across Australia. We have also referred Mosaic to the regulators to determine if this is a one-off issue with a small batch or something more concerning. We welcome actions from Mosaic to withdraw the products from sale and conduct further testing themselves – this is the responsible course of action given the risks involved,” Ms Turner said.
CHOICE has also reminded consumers to favour hand washing over sanitiser, to look for products that contain alcohol levels above 60% and to avoid products with a sticky texture which don’t evaporate, which can indicate they may be ineffective.
“It’s frustrating that essential products can have a question mark over their safety. Products can sit on shelves for months or years before problems are identified. If you’re unsure about the quality of essentials during COVID-19, please tell us at CHOICE and we’ll fight for fast action. Business as usual can’t be accepted when it comes to public safety during this pandemic,” Ms Turner added.
However, Mosaic Brands has refuted the claim.
“We dispute Choice’s assertions as we have testing documentation from the supplier that shows the alcohol content of the hand sanitiser is not in line with Choice’s claim and is within the range to eliminate 99.8% of germs,” the company said in a statement.
“We believe that Choice’s insistence on publishing the article today is purely to generate sensationalism and is irresponsible as it risks alarming buyers of the product unnecessarily if these further tests confirm that the alcohol level is as stated in the documentation we have received from the supplier.”
In a letter sent to CHOICE, the company elaborates on why they voluntarily removed the product.
“The health and safety of our customers is of paramount importance to us, so yesterday (July 13) – before we received the further test results mentioned above – we withdrew the product from sale temporarily pending further clarification. Orders for the product will not be fulfilled until we receive the results of the independent tests we are undertaking,” it reads.
“We understand this product is also available through other major Australian retailers, and we are sorry you have declined to provide us with evidence that the bottle you tested was bought from us.”