Updated: July 22, 2020 06:41 PM
Created: July 22, 2020 05:23 PM
(WHEC) — I've been getting emails from folks across the country with questions about Dollar Tree Hand Sanitizer. Do you want to know why? Try googling the following phrase: Dollar Tree hand sanitizer.
You'll see that one of my investigations is the third or fourth web address that appears.
The story has gone viral, and with good reason. Folks want clarity. Well, I'm doing my best to get that for you.
Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer is distributed by Dollar Tree, but Dollar Tree doesn't make the sanitizer. Instead, it hires third-party, mostly foreign manufacturers to make its Assured brand of products.
The manufacturer that the FDA believes is pumping out products tainted with methanol is 4E Global based in Mexico. But other bottles were manufactured in Turkey, China and some say they were manufactured in the USA.
So viewers wanted to know if it's safe to use Assured Instant Hand sanitizer not made in Mexico.
Here's what an FDA spokesman told me on July 14:
“For this product’s status on FDA’s website, the agency lists “product purported to be made at the same facility” in Mexico, however, it may be produced elsewhere.
Nonetheless, the FDA advises consumers not to use hand sanitizers from these companies, or products with these names or NDC numbers.”
But the FDA has now changed its position.
Late Tuesday, a spokesman wrote, "Dollar Tree's Assured brand, labeled as made by 4E Global in Mexico, is potentially contaminated with methanol and using it could result in methanol poisoning. FDA cannot comment on hand sanitizers made by other manufacturers at this time."
And Dollar Tree has apparently had a change of heart as well.
On July 14, a spokesman told sent me an email that read as follows:
"The third-party manufacturer and supplier of this product has confirmed that none of our product contains methanol or was otherwise contaminated."
And Dollar Tree refused to pull the product from its shelves.
But I've confirmed with multiple local sources that Dollar Tree is no longer selling Assured Instant hand sanitizer made in Mexico.
Instead, it’s only selling its sanitizer that was manufactured elsewhere. So I reached out to Dollar Tree for comment, and late this afternoon a spokesman emailed the following statement:
"We have taken action to proactively remove 4E Global Hand Sanitizer from our store shelves. We have been in communication with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and understand 4E Global is working with the FDA to address this issue related to their product."
That leads us back to this question: Is it safe for you to use Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer that was not made in Mexico?
The FDA now says no comment, making a confusing situation for consumers even more so. That decision is now left entirely up to you.
When trying to identify which ones were manufactured by 4E Global, don’t look for the company name. It’s not there.
Instead, the bottle only lists the distributor and where it was manufactured. So if your bottle was manufactured in Mexico, you should assume it’s not safe to use.
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