EPA Fines Grocery Outlet $392,000 for Sale of Products Claiming to Be “Sterilizing” But Not Tested or Registered

August 31, 2023

Contact Information

Joshua Alexander (alexander.joshua@epa.gov)


SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with Grocery Outlet Inc. resolving claims that the company violated federal law for the sale and distribution in California of four kinds of wet wipes and a cleaning product that were not registered with EPA. The agency will not register a disinfectant or sterilizer until it is determined to be effective and not posing an unreasonable risk to consumers when used according to the label directions. Products not registered with EPA can be harmful to human health, cause adverse effects, and may not be effective against the spread of germs.

As part of the settlement, Grocery Outlet will pay a $392,000 penalty. Between October 24, 2020, and May 30, 2021, the company sold the unregistered products at its stores in Redwood City and Oakland and distributed them to independently operated Grocery Outlet stores, including in Stockton and Concord.

“Unregistered products claiming to be disinfectants or sterilizers, like the kinds sold by Grocery Outlet in California can defraud the public and threaten human health,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division Director Amy Miller. “This settlement shows EPA’s continued commitment to enforcing laws that protect consumers from potential health risks and fraudulent claims.”

The unregistered products are:

  • Love of Dream Antibacterial Wipes
  • Fabuloso Orange Energy Cleaner
  • Miami Sterilizing Antiseptic Wipes
  • Miami 75% Alcohol Wipes
  • Gold Essence Multi-Purpose Antibacterial Wet Wipes

The wet wipes that Grocery Outlet sold and distributed claimed to sterilize or kill germs and bacteria on surfaces and the cleaning product claimed to be effective against bacteria such as E. coli. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, products that claim to kill or repel bacteria or germs, including disinfectants and sterilizers, are considered pesticides and must be registered with the EPA. The term “sterilizing” is a claim attributed to pesticide products with the highest level of efficacy against microorganisms. Public health claims can only be made regarding products that have been properly tested and are registered with the EPA.

Learn more about the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Read more about pesticide registration and view the most up-to-date list of EPA-registered disinfectant products.