Company accused of Supplying ‘Unsafe’ Hand Sanitiser

A Birmingham company has been accused of supplying “unsafe” hand sanitiser during the coronavirus pandemic.

Company accused of Supplying 'Unsafe' Hand Sanitiser f

"Officers were being misled left, right and centre."

A Birmingham company allegedly put “unsafe” hand sanitiser on the market during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Digbeth-based wholesalers Big Living Limited and its directors are accused of supplying hundreds of containers with less than 30% alcohol, despite being advertised as containing 80%.

Mark Jackson, prosecuting, said the hand gel’s label claimed it “kills 99.9% of germs” but it “wouldn’t kill anything, and certainly wouldn’t kill coronavirus”.

Big Living denies two charges of placing an unsafe product on the market, one count of engaging in a misleading commercial practice and one offence of misleading advertising.

Jeewan Sagu, aged 40, and Rajika Sagu, 36, both from Moseley, and Desktop IT, also based in Birchall Street, Digbeth, are all named directors of Big Living and have pleaded not guilty to the same offences.

Desktop IT, which is also business, was represented by director Robert Hiley.

Mr Jackson, representing Birmingham City Council, said:

“What this case is about is the misleading supply of hand sanitiser during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Consumers were led to believe it had an alcohol content of 80 per cent when in fact it contained an alcohol content of 28 per cent.”

Big Living allegedly produced the hand sanitiser under Mr Sagu’s trademark name Chemist Plus. But Mr Jackson said it is not known who manufactured it.

Concerns were raised in July 2020 after a customer bought it on eBay from a wholesaler, which had obtained it from Big Living.

Trading Standards were alerted but when they contacted the business, Mr Sagu claimed the hand sanitiser was supplied by another wholesaler.

Over the course of the next few months, Mr Sagu allegedly “misled” council officers as to where they had obtained the sanitiser and who they had supplied it to.

He said: “They had been supplying this stuff all over the place and keeping it a secret.

“They were asked to give urgent information to the officer to track where the unsafe product has gone.

“At best officers were being misled. At worse, they were being completely and utterly dishonest.”

“The reality is even now officers don’t know who they have sent this stuff to because they haven’t bothered to tell them.”

At Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, Mr Jackson said tests on the original sample found it contained 27.6% alcohol. Other samples were found to have approximately 60%.

Mr Jackson said: “There was an absolute lamentable attitude by this company and directors to the attempts made by these officers to track an unsafe product they placed on the market during the pandemic.

“Officers were being misled left, right and centre.”

Mr Jackson added that Mr Sagu gave “misleading information and failed to cooperate with the investigation” while Ms Sagu and Desktop IT showed a “dereliction of duty” as named directors of Big Living.

Big Living was liquidated in January 2021.

The court case continues.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

Image courtesy of Birmingham Mail