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Federal, state and local health officials are issuing an urgent warning to consumers and retailers to not sell, buy or feed WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches, Schnucks brand cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety packs, and Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches to children because the products may contain extremely high levels of lead. Parents and caregivers of toddlers and young children who may have consumed one of the recalled fruit pouches should contact their child’s healthcare provider about getting a blood test.
On Oct. 28, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory after they were made aware of a developing investigation by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services regarding four children with elevated blood lead levels, indicating potential acute lead toxicity. The North Carolina investigation identified WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches as a potential shared source of exposure.
On Nov. 3, the FDA expanded the public health advisory to include two additional brands of products that are also subject to recall in addition to the WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches: certain Schnucks cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety packs and certain Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches.
- 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 packs are sold at Schnucks and Eatwell Markets grocery stores.
- Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches are sold at Weis grocery stores.
These products have a long shelf life and consumers should check their homes for these products. Out of an abundance of caution, parents or caregivers should stop feeding their children the recalled fruit pouches regardless if their child has shown any symptoms of lead poisoning and get their child tested if they have eaten it in the last few months. If the child’s blood lead levels come back elevated, parents or caregivers should hold onto a sample of the pouches to provide to the Multnomah County Health Department for further testing.
“Currently, Multnomah County has confirmed an elevated blood lead level case in a child that, based on an informational interview, consumed WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches within the last 30 days,” said Perry Cabot, a senior program specialist at Multnomah County’s Health Department. “Parents or caregivers who think their child may have consumed any of the recalled fruit pouches should talk to their child’s healthcare provider about getting a blood test. There is no safe level of lead in the blood for children, and even low levels can have lifelong health impacts.”
Symptoms and risks of lead
Lead exposure in children is often difficult to see, and most children have no obvious immediate symptoms. Although lead can be diagnosed only through clinical testing, signs and symptoms of lead toxicity vary based on exposure. Short-term exposure to lead could result in the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain/Colic
Longer-term exposure could result in additional symptoms:
- Muscle aches or muscle prickling/burning
- Occasional abdominal discomfort
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscular exhaustibility
- Weight loss
Multnomah County's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is an outreach and education resource and conducts investigations in response to elevated blood lead levels in children. The program works to identify the source of exposure and assist families with prevention strategies.
On average, 270 Oregonians are diagnosed with lead poisoning each year, and about one-third of those are children younger than 6. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program page.
Consumers who have a complaint or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction) are encouraged to call the Oregon Consumer Complaint Coordinator or report the product through FDA’s Online Reporting Form.