French agri co-op starts producing hand sanitiser

Vivescia began production to supply its own workers and has now stepped up output to supply the medicals sector

France’s largest grain co-operative, Vivescia, has responded to the Covid-19 crisis setting up production of hand sanitiser.

Since the start of the crisis, Vivescia Group’s biotechnology R&D subsidiary, ARD, has produced 15,000 litres of hand sanitiser.

Production, which follows World Health Organisation guidelines, began to supply workers at ARD, as well as Vivescia its other subsidiaries. But when the national shortage of hand sanitiser became apparent the co-op stepped up production, to supply to the medical sector.

Vivescia says several tonnes of hand sanitiser have already been delivered to a number of hospitals and public institutions, including Nord Ardennes Charleville-Mézières Intercommunal hospital, Rethel hospital and retirement home, Amiens university hospital, local police stations, pharmacies, medical centres, and general practitioners.

ARD is looking at stepping up production from 5,000 to 7,000 litres of gel per day to respond to demand.

Vivescia, owned by 11,000 farmer members, employs 7,500 people in 25 countries, generating an annual turnover of €3.4bn.

France capped the price of hand sanitisers on 6 March to protect consumers. By government decree, the price of hand sanitiser is capped at a €2 for a 50ml bottle, €3 for 100ml, €5 for 300ml and €15 for a litre. The government is also authorising some pharmacies to make their own sanitiser gel to cope with demand.