U.S – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is actively investigating reports of lead poisoning in children linked to the consumption of WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree pouches.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) alerted the FDA to elevated lead levels in the product, resulting in a voluntary recall by Wanabana LLC on October 31, 2023. The recall has since been expanded to include Schnucks and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches.
As of November 13, 2023, there were 22 confirmed cases of acute lead poisoning associated with the puree pouches, affecting children aged 1–3 years across 14 states.
Symptoms reported include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, change in activity level, and anemia. The CDC emphasizes that no safe level of lead in children’s blood has been identified, and even low levels have been linked to learning and behavioral deficits.
WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Purée pouches are nationally distributed and available through various retailers, including Amazon and Dollar Tree. The recall encompasses specific lots and sizes of WanaBana, Schnucks, and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches.
FDA Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods, James “Jim” Jones, highlighted the agency’s swift response, initiating a voluntary recall within four days of being alerted by NCDHHS. He attributed the improved response time to the ongoing reorganization of the FDA’s Human Foods Program, streamlining decision-making processes.
While the investigation is ongoing, there is a theory that the lead contamination may be linked to an imported ingredient used in the recalled purees.
FDA is actively working to remove contaminated ingredients and products from the market, emphasizing the challenge of determining the extent of distribution of the implicated ingredient in the U.S.
Consumers are advised to check for recalled products and contact the FDA or the manufacturer with any concerns.