The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to consumers about alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are packaged in containers that look like food or drink packaging.  The FDA is concerned that, if the hand sanitizer is mistakenly ingested, it may cause serious injury or death.  The FDA is also "strongly encouraging" retailers to stop selling these products.  

The FDA reported that hand sanitizer is being packaged in beer cans, children's food pouches, water bottles, juice bottles, and vodka bottles.  The FDA also raised concerns that some hand sanitizers contain food flavors, such as raspberry or chocolate. 

FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said, "Manufacturers should be vigilant about packaging and marketing their hand sanitizers in food or drink packages in an effort to mitigate any potential inadvertent use by consumers. The FDA continues to monitor these products and we’ll take appropriate actions as needed to protect the health of Americans."  

This isn't the first time that regulators have taken action over packaging that they believe poses serious health risks.  For example, in 2018, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of e-liquids used in e-cigarettes that used packaging which looked like juice boxes or other kid-friendly foods.  And, almost a decade ago, the FTC sued the marketers of the malt beverage Four Loko for, among other things, selling what appeared to be a single serve (and non-resealable) can of the beverage, even though it contained as much alcohol as four to five beers. 

As you're developing product packaging, it's important to consider whether the packaging that you're choosing may pose any unusual health risks to consumers.  If the packaging may cause consumers -- particularly kids -- to be confused about the proper use of the product, you may want to consider a different design.