The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is investigating several potential cases of high blood lead levels in children around the state who may have eaten recalled cinnamon applesauce pouch products. The FDA says the products contain high levels of lead.
The recall is for certain lots of the following products:
- WanaBana brand apple cinnamon fruit purée pouches (sold nationally)
- Schnucks brand cinnamon applesauce pouches (sold in Midwest states)
- Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches (sold in Mid-Atlantic states)
The WanaBana brands are sold nationally at Dollar Tree, Amazon, and several other online retailers. The recalled cinnamon applesauce pouch products should not be eaten. These products have a long shelf life, so consumers are urged to check their cupboards and pantries for products purchased weeks or months ago. The products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase for a full refund. Additional information about the recalled products can be found on the FDA’s website: Investigation of Elevated Lead Levels: Applesauce Pouches (November 2023).
So far, there have been 22 cases of children 1-3 years old around the country with high blood lead levels linked to the recalled products. There are no confirmed cases in Georgia. Cases experienced symptoms including headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, change in activity level, and anemia. Parents and caregivers of children who may have consumed recalled products should contact the child’s healthcare provider about getting a blood test for lead.
A simple blood test can detect lead poisoning. A small amount of blood is taken from a finger or heel prick or from a vein in the arm. Based on your child’s blood lead test results, healthcare providers can recommend follow-up actions and care.
There is no safe amount of lead in a child’s blood. Even small amounts of lead can result in damage to the brain and nervous system, cause behavioral problems, learning difficulties and other medical issues – all of which may be permanent.
Recalled cinnamon apple puree and applesauce products. Information on lot codes and UPCs can be found in the firm’s recall announcement.
- Recalled WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches
- Recalled Schnucks-brand cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety pack
- Recalled Weis-brand cinnamon applesauce pouches
Symptoms of Lead Toxicity
Lead is toxic to humans and can affect people of any age or health status. Protecting children from exposure to lead is particularly important because they are more susceptible to lead toxicity. Most children have no obvious immediate symptoms. Parents and caretakers should consult a healthcare provider if you suspect a child may have been exposed to lead. Short term exposure to lead could result in the following symptoms: headache; abdominal pain/colic; vomiting; anemia. Longer term exposure could result in the following additional symptoms: irritability; lethargy; fatigue; muscle aches or muscle prickling/burning; constipation; difficulty concentrating/muscular weakness; tremor; weight loss.
- WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches are sold nationally and are available through multiple retailers including Amazon, Dollar Tree, and other online outlets.
- Schnucks-brand cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety pack are sold at Schnucks and Eatwell Markets grocery stores.
- Weis-brand cinnamon applesauce pouches are sold at Weis grocery stores.
Ongoing; updates to the advisory will be provided as they become available.
- Consumers should not eat, sell, or serve recalled WanaBana, Schnucks, or Weis-brand apple cinnamon pouches and should discard them.
- These products have a long shelf life. Consumers should check their homes and discard these products.
- To properly discard the product, consumers and retailers should carefully open the pouch and empty the content into a trash can before discarding the packaging to prevent others from salvaging recalled product from the trash. Clean up any spills after discarding the product then wash your hands.
- Most children have no obvious immediate symptoms of lead exposure. If there’s suspicion that a child may have been exposed to lead, parents should talk to their child’s healthcare provider about getting a blood test.
- Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have symptoms of lead toxicity after eating recalled fruit pouches.
FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, is investigating reports of elevated blood lead levels in individuals with reported exposure to Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree pouches manufactured in Ecuador and sold under WanaBana, Weis, and Schnucks brands.
As of November 16, 2023, there have been 34 reports of illness potentially linked to recalled product submitted to FDA. FDA is continuing to evaluate incoming adverse reports of illnesses.
FDA and other state partners collected and analyzed additional product samples of fruit puree and applesauce pouches. FDA detected elevated levels of lead in one finished product sample of WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Puree collected from Dollar Tree. The level detected in the FDA sample of WanaBana apple cinnamon puree is 2.18 parts per million (ppm), which, for context, is more than 200 times greater than the action level the FDA has proposed in draft guidance for fruit purees and similar products intended for babies and young children.
To date, sample analysis of WanaBana, Weis, and Schnucks fruit puree pouches that do not contain cinnamon and are not part of the recall, have not shown elevated levels of lead.
FDA’s leading hypothesis is that cinnamon used in these recalled pouches is the likely source of contamination for these products; however, the FDA has not yet been able to collect and test samples of the cinnamon used in the recalled products. The FDA is continuing to work with Ecuadorian authorities to investigate the source of the cinnamon. At this time, FDA has no indication that this issue extends beyond these recalled products, but to further protect public health, FDA is screening incoming shipments of cinnamon from multiple countries for lead contamination.
In addition to determining the source of cinnamon, FDA’s investigation is ongoing to determine the point of contamination and whether additional products are linked to illnesses. At this time, the FDA is not aware of any other reports of illnesses or elevated blood lead level adverse events reported for other cinnamon-containing products or cinnamon.
The FDA also reminds industry that it is the legal responsibility of companies distributing food products that are sold in the U.S., to comply with applicable requirements in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and FDA’s regulations.
By law, food manufacturers have a responsibility to significantly minimize or prevent chemical hazards when needed. This includes putting in place any needed preventive controls to reduce or eliminate the presence of lead in their products. Most food manufacturers and processors are covered by the preventive control provisions of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food rule. The preventive control provisions require industry to implement controls to significantly minimize or prevent any identified chemical hazards, such as lead, requiring a control. In addition, some manufacturers may conduct verification activities like testing the final product.
For more information please see FDA’s Draft Guidance for Industry on Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food.
FDA will update as information becomes available. fda.gov