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The Minister of Agriculture agrees that the department should have issued a sanitizer notice immediately

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The Department of Agriculture should have issued a public notice on October 16 regarding issues related to the Virapro hand sanitizer. Agriculture Minister Charlie McConaughey said last night when the manufacturer was notified to recall its product.

Schools were only warned about the recall of the Virapro-branded hand sanitizer on Thursday night after the Department of Education issued a statement.

Several schools said they were forced to close on Friday because of the short notice, while many others struggled to find alternative products.

This is because some of the hand sanitizer products on the school stock list have been found to contain more methanol than ethanol.

Insufficient amounts of ethanol make the product ineffective and regular use of sanitizer with methanol can cause nausea, dermatitis, eye irritation, upper respiratory tract irritation and headache.

In response to the alert, the department told schools to close on Friday or to finish earlier, if they think such action is appropriate.

McConaughey told Dill that he only knew of the difficulties on Thursday.

The department on Tuesday acknowledged that it was the first to warn of safety issues with the use of hand sanitizers in schools.

“A statement was issued only on Thursday night after it became clear that the recall of the product had not begun and that his department had issued a statement regarding the product’s hazards.

“The primary responsibility for withdrawing products lies with the company concerned,” he said.

He said a full review of the problem handling would be conducted to ensure that the system is robust and lessons learned.

He said there was a problem when the European Anti-Fraud Office informed the Revenue Department that they had been contacted about importing a hand sanitizer from Turkey to Ireland from the same supplier of a product tested in Denmark. Excessive amounts of methanol were found to be present.

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The results of the inspections conducted by the department on October 16 were fully validated.

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