WOODLAND PARK, NJ. – Two affiliated companies will pay more than $300,000 in fines for claiming a registered pesticide could be used to fight germs and viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, federal officials said Wednesday.
Zoono Microbe Shield was sold around the world to fight the spread of COVID-19 in places like United Airlines cabins and Amazon warehouses. But officials at the US Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that the manufacturer “made false and misleading claims about its effectiveness and suitability for use” as a disinfectant for coronavirus.
Under an agreement with the EPA, Zoono USA and Zoono Holdings will pay $205,000 and $120,000, respectively. The two are subsidiaries of a parent company based in New Zealand.
“We are committed to protecting against businesses that profit from the fact that COVID-19 remains a risk and to ensuring consumer confidence and protecting people’s health,” EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia said in a explanation
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Zoono USA, based in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, had no immediate comment on the agreement.
During its registration with the EPA, Zoono Microbe Shield was only allowed to say on its label that it could fight “against odor-causing bacteria, discoloration and discoloration-causing bacteria, fungi (mildew and mildew) and algae as a static agent, ” according to the agreement
But packaging, print marketing, websites, social media and other ads for Zoono Microbe Shield said it was a “surface sanitizer that continuously kills germs for up to 30 days,” including coronavirus.
Among those using the product as a disinfectant for coronavirus was United Airlines. Executives said in September 2020 that workers would begin coating the product on more than 30 aircraft seats, tray tables, armrests, bins, toilets and crew stations each week.
It was also used to try to disinfect bus stations and hospital rooms in the United Kingdom, along with hundreds of Amazon distribution centers, according to press reports. Other reports said it was used by Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and movie theater chains.