Most applesauce lead poisonings were in young children, the FDA says
Most reported patients inare young children, a Food and Drug Administration spokesman confirmed, as authorities continue to work after last month’s recall.
A sample of cinnamon applesauce collected from Dollar Tree had tested for lead levels more than 200 times greater than what the agency considers safe for babies and toddlers, the agency said Friday.
At least 34 cases have been reported to the agency across 22 states after ingestion ofwhich had been sold nationwide.
Information gathered from consumer complaints and reports submitted to the FDA show that “most patients fall between 1-4 years,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
One family told the agency they had been searching for months to try to root out the culprit behind high blood lead levels in their son, which had risen to as high as 22.5 micrograms per day. deciliters — well beyond the limit set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages consultation with poison control or pediatric specialists.
“My son ate Apple Cinnamon WanaBana fruit puree pouches as a regular part of his diet (4-6 pouches per day) from May 2023 to August 2023,” they wrote, according to edited reports released by the agency in response to a Freedom of Information request.
The family’s efforts to find lead exposure in their home or at their son’s daycare turned up no likely sources of the poisoning. After cutting the applesauce pouches out of their son’s diet, his blood lead levels begin to drop.
“His levels are coming down, but we are extremely concerned about future developmental delays and behavioral problems as a result of this exposure,” the family said, adding that their son was now being treated for the month-long lead poisoning.
Exposure to lead can damage the brain and nervous system of young children, Danish Environmental Protection Agency sayresulting in behavioral and learning problems in children exposed to even low levels of lead.
“Most children have no obvious immediate symptoms of lead exposure. If it is suspected that a child may have been exposed to lead, parents should talk to their child’s health care provider about getting a blood test,” the FDA spokesperson said.
The CDC previously warned testing labs to prepare for a potential increase in test requests for lead poisoning as news of the recall has spread.
Reports to the FDA also describe frustration with the retailers who had sold the applesauce bags.
WanaBana’s recall of its apple cinnamon fruit pouches was dated 30 October. A week later, a family complained that the bags were still being sold to parents by Dollar Tree.
“When I told the manager, they removed them from the shelves but said there had been no word from the company,” the report states.
A spokesman for Dollar Tree did not immediately return a request for comment.
Bags have also been recalled of WanaBana, which was sold under the brands of grocery retailers Weis and Schnucks.
Officialsused by the Wanabana is their prime suspect for the lead poisonings.
As a precaution, the FDA has begun screening cinnamon imports from several countries for potential lead contamination.
An FDA spokesman declined to clarify which countries would be targeted under its heightened scrutiny, saying the agency “generally does not pre-announce investigative actions.”
“The FDA encourages manufacturers that import cinnamon and products containing cinnamon to implement necessary preventive controls to ensure that their products do not contain elevated levels of lead,” the FDA spokesperson said.