More children are in the tally of those with elevated lead levels after eating certain brands of cinnamon applesauce.
As of Jan. 8, the Food and Drug Administration has received 87 confirmed complaints in the outbreak, up from 82 on Dec. 26.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also received more reports of children with elevated lead levels in their blood. The CDC has now received reports of 86 confirmed cases, 209 probable cases, and 26 suspected cases for a total of 321 cases from 38 different states
The FDA reports that the age range of the patients is less than one year old to 53 years old, with a median age of 1 year old.
The Food and Drug Administration continues to work with authorities in Ecuador and the producer of the cinnamon applesauce, Astrofoods, to determine how the cinnamon in the applesauce was contaminated. FDA sampling found lead at 2,000 of the proposed safe levels in the applesauce.
Jim Jones, deputy commissioner for the FDA’s human foods program, has said he believes the contamination was intentional. Lead can be added to products to increase their weight, making them more valuable.
The outbreak has been traced to three brands of cinnamon applesauce: Wanabana, Schnucks, and Weis. Astrofoods produced all three in Ecuador and used cinnamon from the supplier Negasmart. All three brands have been recalled. The products have long shelf lives, so consumers should check their homes for them and discard them.
The cinnamon used in the applesauce has also been found to have high levels of chromium, which can cause various health problems.
“People who ate recalled products, especially if they had elevated blood lead levels, may have been exposed to chromium and should inform their healthcare provider so they can monitor health and provide supportive care as needed,” according to an update from the FDA.
Symptoms of chromium exposure from eating contaminated food may be nonspecific. Some people might not experience any symptoms. Ingestion of chromium exceeding dietary recommendations may result in abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, and renal and hepatic dysfunction.
About lead poisoning
Parents and caretakers should consult a healthcare provider and ask for blood tests if they suspect a child may have been exposed to the recalled cinnamon applesauce products.
Short-term exposure to lead could result in the following symptoms: headache, abdominal pain/colic, vomiting, and anemia.
Longer-term exposure could result in additional symptoms: irritability, lethargy, fatigue, muscle aches or muscle prickling/burning, constipation, difficulty concentrating/muscular weakness, tremors, and weight loss.
Permanent consequences can lead to developmental delays and brain damage.
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