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On October 2, Health Canada announced additional packaging and labelling requirements for alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

As you know, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many alcohol suppliers have adapted their manufacturing processes to supply hand sanitizers and help meet the acute demand. Some sanitizers have been packaged in bottles which are usually used to package alcoholic or other beverages.

The new policy from Health Canada aims to reduce the risk of unintentional ingestion of hand sanitizers, by restricting the types of packaging used, and by enhancing the labelling applied to such packaging.

As part of the new guidance, certain packaging types have been deemed unacceptable for hand sanitizers, including:

  • beer and soda cans
  • food and beverage pouches
  • tetra packs

In addition, all sanitizer containers must now be able to accommodate closures, such as a pump or dispensing cap, that are easily differentiated from beverage containers.

Finally, additional labelling requirements have been introduced, including a bilingual “Do not drink” warning logo (for details of the warning logo, refer to the Health Canada policy). Use of the logo is now required on all hand sanitizer products, in addition to the already required messaging, which includes:

  • “for external use only”
  • “keep out of reach of children”
  • “if swallowed, call a poison control centre or get medical help right away”

To enable existing stocks of sanitizer to continue to be used these new requirements will apply to all hand sanitizers distributed from November 27, 2020 onwards. Any distribution of hand sanitizers not meeting these requirements must stop after this date.

Please refer to the full Health Canada policy for additional information on requirements, including implementation details.

Thank you for your continued partnership.