The Department of Agriculture has recalled an approved hand sanitiser which was widely in use in schools.

The recall of ViraPro Hand Sanitiser was issued on Tuesday of this week, according to the Department of Agriculture's Biocidal Product Register, and should have been withdrawn from use then.

The Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture only issued a press release last night, in which it confirmed the product was being recalled. 

The department said it was removed from the Biocidal Product Register due to possible public health concerns.

Members of the public are advised to stop using this sanitiser with immediate effect.

The department said the product may not remain on the market or be made available for use and the company has been instructed to initiate an immediate recall.

Any school with difficulty sourcing replacement hand sanitiser is being advised to contact a Covid-19 helpline which has been supplied to schools.

ViraPro is one of 11 suppliers on the Department of Education's framework for personal protective equipment.

Its sanitiser PCS 100409 has been widely in use in schools.

The Department of Agriculture said it was recalled as "prolonged use of such sanitiser may cause dermatitis, eye irritation, upper respiratory system irritation and headaches".

It is understood tests by the department show the product contains methanol rather than ethanol.

The department said last night "some of the sanitiser on sale does not comply with regulations governing the content and efficacy of such products".

Members of the public have been advised to stop using the sanitiser by the Department of Agriculture.

It says the manufacturer has been instructed to issue an immediate recall of the product.

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The company has not responded to requests for comment.

Schools using the sanitiser can close today if they so choose according to the Education Department, it said additional funding will be provided to schools to purchase supplies from an alternative supplier.

The retailer Woodie's have confirmed that they have also recalled ViraPro hand sanitiser from all of its stores across the country.

In a statement this afternoon the company said: "In response to The Department of Agriculture's announcement to recall ViraPro Hand Sanitiser and in line with their recommendations Woodie's have removed this product from their range."

Additional Reporting: Fran McNulty