Covid train sanitiser company Zoono drops UK claim of 30-day protection

Zoono claims on its UK website that its Z-71 sanitiser 'helps to protect for up to 30 days on surfaces'

Commuters wait for trains at King's Cross train station
Zoono is being used by several train companies  Credit: Chris J Ratcliffe /Getty Images

A sanitiser business whose product is used to fight coronavirus in trains across the country is withdrawing claims that it can help protect against germs for up to a month amid talks with trading standards.

Zoono claims on its UK website that its Z-71 sanitiser – used by rail companies including tube operator Transport for London and Govia Thameslink – “helps to protect for up to 30 days on surfaces”.

However, chief executive Paul Hyslop told the Telegraph on Monday night he was now “withdrawing the 30-day claim in the UK while we get the product re-tested to local standards to satisfy the local regulator.” He said the change had been requested by trading standards.  

Products are currently approved for use and marketing in the UK under the European Standard (EN) testing regime, which Zoono has passed. 

But there is no official 30-day standard, so claims of longevity are difficult to make. In Britain, some train firms apply the sanitiser every 21 days.

Auckland-based Zoono Group, parent of the UK business, has experienced soaring demand during the pandemic and made global sales of £10.5m during the latest quarter. Zoono shares have almost quadrupled.

Zoono points to laboratory tests from New Zealand, Kenya, India and elsewhere showing its efficacy over up to 30 days, while clients have also conducted their own tests. 

Mr Hyslop said he hoped to present the findings to authorities in the UK, but in the meantime the claims are to be taken off the site in the UK and products re-labelled. 

He said: “We are going to stop making the claims so we are 100pc compliant until we can have a meeting with the appropriate people in the UK where we can present our case. I would like them to give me a testing protocol and if we pass it then we can make the claim. 

“We are trying to do everything properly. We are a New Zealand company; we weren’t quite sure about all the UK regulations. We understand them now.”

He said regulators must have “open minds” about new technologies. 

The Telegraph revealed earlier this month how Zoono has been ordered by medical watchdogs to drop claims its hand sanitisers protect against coronavirus, as it had not sought authorisation to make them. 

Mr Hyslop added: “I know the product. I know that it works. And we have probably saved a few lives.”

He added that he took responsibility for claims in the UK, and said: “We would like to work with the regulator; we have a good product that can make a difference.”

A TfL spokesman said: “TfL carried out testing on Zoono to ascertain how long any effect would last, and uses it on trains every 21 days in line with its findings.”

A GTR spokesman said Zoono was one of several products being used, adding: “We have conducted our own lab-based testing (microbiological tests) to ensure that this product is effective in this setting.” 

Swabs taken on 24 points 14 to 22 days after cleaning indicated there was no presence of Covid-19 or other common bugs E.Coli and S. Aurea, the spokesman added. 

Zoono's UK base is in Bury St Edmonds, and it has been in talks with Suffolk Trading Standards over the claims.

A spokesman for the body said: “We are looking into a number of complaints and enquiries that have been received into the department, and are liaising with the company in regards to these.”