According to Food Safety News, the number of children affected by extremely high levels of lead in cinnamon applesauce pouches continues to grow, and some adults are now reported in the outbreak.

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. The recalled cinnamon applesauce pouches were made with cinnamon containing as much as 2,000 times the recommended amount of lead. These products have a long shelf life. Consumers should check their homes and discard these products.

The cinnamon in the applesauce is a problem for U.S. and Ecuadorian officials. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is testing other products. Only the recalled cinnamon applesauce is showing elevated levels of lead.

As of Dec. 26, the Food and Drug Administration reported receiving 82 confirmed complaints of adverse events linked to recalled products. To date, confirmed complainants, or people for whom a complaint or adverse event was submitted and met the FDA’s complainant definition, are from less than 1 to 53 years of age. Almost all of the people are children younger than six years of age.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health is investigating the situation in collaboration with state and local health departments. 

The CDC’s case definition for state partners includes a blood lead level of 3.5 µg/dL or higher measured within three months after consuming a recalled WanaBana, Schnucks, or Weis brand fruit puree product after November 2022.  

As of Dec.22, the CDC had received reports of 73 confirmed cases, 157 probable cases, and 21 suspected cases for 251 cases from 34 states.

The CDC and FDA have different data sources, so the counts reported by each agency will not directly correspond. In addition, some people affected by the contaminated product might be reflected in both the numbers reported by the FDA and the numbers reported by the CDC, so the numbers should not be added together. 

Recalled products still on store shelves
WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches are sold nationally individually and in three-packs and have been available through multiple retailers, including Amazon and other online outlets, as well as Dollar Tree and Family Dollar/Dollar Tree combination stores.

The FDA has found, as of Dec. 13, recalled WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Puree products were still on the shelves at several Dollar Tree stores in multiple states. 

As of Dec. 19, the FDA also received a report that recalled WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Puree products may still be on shelves at Family Dollar/Dollar Tree combination stores. Consumers should not purchase this product.

Schnucks-brand cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety packs were sold at Schnucks and Eatwell Markets grocery stores. They have been removed from store shelves

Weis-brand cinnamon applesauce pouches are sold at Weis grocery stores and have been removed from store shelves.

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.