Dollarama Inc. is removing counterfeit and recalled hand sanitizer from its shelves, which experts say should serve as a reminder of how important it is for retailers and consumers to exercise due diligence when shopping.
“Since the onset of the coronavirus, this has just been a huge Wild West when it comes to personal protective equipment (PPE),” said Yue Gao, pharmacist and quality assurance manager at MedyKits, supplier of PPE based in Ontario.
“Some people don’t realize this is happening. ”
Gao’s remarks came on Tuesday after Health Canada revealed that it discovered a counterfeit Daily Shield hand sanitizer for sale at one of Dollarama’s offices in Thunder Bay, Ont. with the same lot number as a legitimate product from Bio Life Sciences Corp.
Montreal-based Dollarama said the 250ml product labeled NPN 80098979, lot 6942, expiring May 202, was available in about half of the chain’s stores and that each location sold around 17 bottles, which were withdrawn as soon as that Health Canada has started to investigate.
Health Canada believes that the fraudulent version of the product may not be effective in killing bacteria and viruses, and poses serious health risks because it contains methanol. The ingredient is not approved for use in hand sanitizers and may cause serious adverse reactions or death if swallowed.
This is far from the only recall the country has faced in recent months, as COVID-19 has made hand sanitizers a hot commodity and prompted dozens of stills and now businesses to start pumping the product.
Health Canada said it had recalled more than 100 hand sanitizers recently and Gao has heard its fair share of product complaints.
“While working in the pharmacy, I actually asked a customer to come see me and show me pictures of his son’s hands because he developed a rash and very, very dry skin that was red to the skin. because of the hand sanitizer he used in school, ”Gao said. “It didn’t look good, so I had to tell him… to make sure you are protecting yourself with your purchases.” ”
Fraser Johnson, president of the Leenders Supply Chain Management Association at the University of Western Ontario, said the recalls stress that retailers should focus on two things: suppliers and quality.
“You have unreported suppliers who want to cheat and they can go through a review process with (a retailer) and supply them for a number of years and then decide they want to replace the hand sanitizer that they are. they shipped. with them and not disclose that, ”Johnson said.
“It’s a very difficult thing for a business to verify. ”
Retailers, he says, can ask for referrals from hand sanitizer manufacturers or search for websites and evidence that other companies have trusted the brand.
Health Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it recommended that companies refer to a list of authorized hand sanitizers, complete with identification labels for natural products and drugs, which it posted on his website
The organization also released a second list of hand sanitizers and sanitizers accepted as part of an interim measure the government has put in place to allow certain products to be sold in Canada if approved in other jurisdictions (and were determined not to compromise security.
Health Canada said it was continuing to investigate counterfeits of the Daily Shield with the cooperation of Dollarama, which told The Canadian Press in an email that all of its purchases of hand sanitizer are under review. full compliance before being sold to ensure quality and safety. of the product.
“The product in question was purchased through a long-standing Canadian supplier. Dollarama was neither the importer nor the licensee of this product, ”spokesman Radmanovich said.
“Customers are encouraged to throw the product away or return it to any store for a full refund. ”
Customers who don’t want to be fooled should only buy from trusted retailers with brands they associate with quality, Johnson said.
If that sounds cheap, think about it carefully, he says.
When Gao purchases a hand sanitizer, she makes sure that it does not contain methanol and pays close attention to the label.
“Some of these counterfeit sanitizer companies have a fake label on the top of the bottle, and the only time you can really tell these are fake is to just keep an eye out for recalls that the website of Health Canada poster, so be vigilant and follow that too. “