The FDA has received more reports of illnesses in children related to applesauce products and two more companies have issued recalls of their products because of high levels of lead.
The implicated products are all lot codes and expiration dates of:
- Recalled WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches
- Recalled Schnucks brand cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety pack
- Recalled Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches (i.e., specific lots of UPC 041497216123)
WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches are sold nationally and are available through multiple retailers including Sam’s Club, 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. The products were distributed nationwide.
The reported dates of illness onset for the impacted children range from Oct. 17 through Nov. 1. So far, illnesses have been reported in Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina
Consumers are warned not to feed these products to their children or eat them themselves. 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.
“These products have a long shelf life. Consumers should check their homes and discard these products. Most children have no obvious immediate symptoms of lead exposure,” according to the FDA’s expanded alert. “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.”
Parents and caretakers should consult a healthcare provider if they 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.
Long term exposure exposure to lead can cause a variety of problems in children, including learning disabilities and brain damage.
A safety alert was issued by the Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 28, along with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS).
At that time the agencies were investigating reports of children with elevated blood lead levels, indicating potential acute lead toxicity. The NCDHHS investigation identified WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree pouches as a potential shared source of exposure. As part of their investigation, NCDHHS analyzed multiple lots of WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree, detecting extremely high concentrations of lead.
Since the first alert was issued this investigation has been transferred to FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response & Evaluation (CORE) Network for additional follow up, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local partners. Three additional children have become ill, bringing the total to four.
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