FDA Expands Probe into Lead-Tainted Kids’ Fruit Pouches as Illnesses Mount

by Ella

In response to mounting reports of illnesses and a growing number of product recalls, federal health officials have broadened their investigation into apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches for children suspected of being tainted with lead.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) disclosed on Friday that it had received reports of seven illnesses in at least five states, potentially linked to contaminated puree.


Two additional companies, Schnucks Markets based in St. Louis and Weis Markets in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, have announced recalls of specific cinnamon applesauce products due to possible high levels of lead contamination. Previously, WanaBana, located in Coral Gables, Florida, had recalled all lots and expiration dates of its apple cinnamon fruit puree.


Consuming these tainted products can result in “acute toxicity,” according to FDA officials. As a precaution, parents and caregivers are urged not to purchase or serve any of the affected cinnamon applesauce products. These products are available through various retailers, including Amazon, Dollar Tree, Schnucks, and Eatwell Markets grocery stores.


The FDA further recommended that children and individuals who have consumed these products undergo testing for possible lead poisoning.


The investigation initially originated in North Carolina, where health authorities began examining reports of four children with elevated blood lead levels associated with the WanaBana product. After analyzing multiple lots of the product, state health officials identified “extremely high” lead concentrations, a result subsequently confirmed by the FDA.

The FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network is leading the investigation in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local health agencies.

Lead is a toxic substance harmful to people of all ages, with children being particularly vulnerable. Many children exhibit no obvious symptoms, underscoring the importance of testing those who may have been exposed to assess their blood lead levels. Short-term exposure to lead can lead to symptoms such as headaches, abdominal pain, vomiting, and anemia, as stated by the FDA.

The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that heavy metals like lead can enter food products from sources such as soil, air, water, or industrial processes. Lead exposure can significantly impact children’s health, causing damage to the brain and nervous system, as well as hampering growth and development. According to the AAP, there is no known safe level of lead exposure.



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