Enlarge / Three packets have so far been associated with lead contamination.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The Food and Drug Administration declared in an updated safety alert on Friday that, at a minimum, seven children across five states have experienced acute lead poisoning linked to apple cinnamon fruit products marketed for children and sold nationwide. Linked to at least three brands of fruit puree packets.
The brands in question are Wanabana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree Packets, Schnucks Brand Cinnamon-Flavored Applesauce Packets, and Weis Brand Cinnamon Applesauce Packets. All three have been recalled. Consumers should refrain from purchasing, selling, serving, or consuming any of these products. Any packets that have already been purchased should be disposed of. Parents or guardians of children who have consumed the puree should consult healthcare providers about blood lead testing.
In an alert on October 28, the FDA stated that it was collaborating with officials from the state of North Carolina who had identified four children with elevated blood lead levels in the western region of the state. North Carolina considers a child’s blood lead levels to be elevated if their two consecutive blood lead test results are equal to or greater than 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dl) – at which point the child is sent to investigate the lead source and becomes eligible for further analysis. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established a threshold of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter to classify high levels of lead in the blood, which aligns with 97.5 percent of blood lead levels in a survey of American children.
North Carolina officials investigating four cases in the western part of the state identified Wanabana apple cinnamon packets as the probable source. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) subsequently tested “multiple lots” of the packets, and the tests revealed “exceedingly high concentrations of lead.” The FDA reviewed the findings and agreed with the NCDHHS that “this level may lead to acute toxicity.”
The FDA acknowledged that such acute toxicity may manifest as headaches, stomach pain or colic, vomiting, and anemia. Prolonged exposure may cause irritability, drowsiness, fatigue, muscle pain or a burning sensation in the muscles, occasional stomach upset, constipation, difficulty focusing, muscle fatigue, tremors, or weight loss. Lead is a potent neurotoxic metal that poses a particular threat to children. The CDC asserts that even low-dose exposures are associated with developmental delays, learning difficulties, and behavioral problems.
On November 3, the FDA identified two additional contaminated puree products, Schnucks and Weis, and reported additional cases.
Based on complaints received via the FDA’s reporting system, there have been at least seven cases across five states: Arizona (1), Louisiana (1), Maryland (1), Missouri (1), North Carolina (2), and one remaining case with an undisclosed condition. The FDA disclosed that it has received additional illness reports and is currently evaluating them.
The recalled Wanabana packets were sold nationwide and were available through online retailers including Amazon and Dollar Tree. Other recalled brands were discovered in select grocery stores.
The FDA stated that it is actively working on identifying additional cases and other products that may have been contaminated, as well as understanding the source of the lead. In its recall notice, Schnucks reported that its supplier, Purcell International, informed the company that “high levels of lead have been detected in cinnamon raw materials used by Austrofood SAS, the manufacturer of applesauce cinnamon packets.”