A temporary reversal of a 2017 regulatory change would enable New Zealand manufacturers of hand sanitiser to end a 12-week delay in meeting retailer demands created by the COVID-19 virus.
Cosmetics New Zealand and the EMA say a short-term reversal of the 2017 changes to Hazardous Substances regulations would see the current 10-12 week delay in meeting orders cleared within a week.
"There is unprecedented demand in these unprecedented times and a simple, temporary relaxation of regulation would enable manufacturers to meet the huge call New Zealanders are putting on supplies of hand sanitiser - a critical ingredient in helping prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus," says EMA Chief Executive Brett O’Riley.
"Our manufacturers still have the capacity in place to return to pre-2017 production levels in a very short period of time and that would enable us to meet the current massive demand for hand sanitiser in New Zealand," says Cosmetics New Zealand’s Executive Director Garth Wyllie.
Cosmetics NZ says large grocery retailers are requesting supplies of up to 600,000 bottles of sanitiser but manufacturers are currently restricted to producing just 4,000 - 8,000 bottles per day.
"Prior to 2017 we could manufacture in 1,000 litre vessels but this was reduced to just 30 litres at a time. With a temporary exemption, and close monitoring by the regulators, we could supply these orders in a week and not 10-12 weeks," says Mr Wyllie.
"If an exemption is granted we would work with regulators and WorkSafe to make sure we do everything possible to reduce risk. We would also ensure products are sold at their normal selling price."