According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are now 468 patients spread across 44 states.

The FDA has confirmed that lead chromate is the source of lead and chromium in cinnamon applesauce marketed for children and imported from Ecuador.

Leaders at the FDA continue to believe the contamination was intentional.

The Food and Drug Administration had already confirmed that applesauce samples had as much as 2,000 times the amount of lead considered safe.

Three brands of cinnamon applesauce were recalled in November of 2023 because of lead contamination: Wanabana, Schnucks, and Weis.

“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 the FDA’s Feb. 29 update.

“Historically, lead chromate has been illegally added to certain spices to increase their weight and color, increasing the monetary value of the adulterated spices. FDA’s leading hypothesis remains that this was likely an act of economically motivated adulteration.”

The FDA has limited regulatory power over foreign ingredient suppliers who do not directly ship their products to the United States. Consequently, the FDA cannot take direct action against Negasmart, the supplier of the cinnamon to the Ecuadorean applesauce manufacturer Austrofoods, or Carlos Aguilera, the processor of the cinnamon sticks. 

“Ecuadorian officials in Agencia Nacional de Regulación, Control y Vigilancia Sanitaria (ARCSA) have reported that Carlos Aguilera of Ecuador is the likely source of contamination and is not in operation at this time,” according to the U.S. FDA.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are now 468 patients spread across 44 states. That’s up from the 422 patients identified in the previous update on Feb. 13. The FDA has logged 90 children with adverse reactions. Some of the patients from the CDC and FDA tallies may overlap. 

“FDA does not indicate that this issue extends beyond these recalled products and does not have any confirmed reports of illnesses or elevated blood lead level adverse events reported for other cinnamon-containing products or cinnamon,” according to the agency.

According to health officials in Ecuador, unprocessed cinnamon sticks used in recalled products were sourced from Sri Lanka. They were sampled by Ecuadorean officials and found to have no lead contamination.

An investigation by The New York Times and the non-profit group “The Examination” found the applesauce and cinnamon slipped through every checkpoint meant to safeguard the U.S. food supply.

“The Ecuadorean food processor Austrofood was not required to test for toxic metals and did not, records show,” according to The Times.

“The agency (FDA) is conducting half as many spot checks of food at the border as they were a decade ago. Food importers, which are required to vet foreign food, let the applesauce enter the country.”

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.

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are collecting different types of data to investigate a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections. Epidemiologic data show that Raw Farm brand raw cheddar cheese is making people in this outbreak sick.

Since the last update, one new illness and one new state were reported. One sick person in New Jersey reported eating raw cheddar cheese during travel to Colorado in the week before they got sick. As of February 28, 2024, a total of 11 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from 5 states – New Jersey, Texas, Colorado, Utah and California. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to February 5, 2024. Of 11 people with information available, 5 have been hospitalized and 2 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 9 people interviewed, 7 (78%) specifically reported eating Raw Farm brand raw cheddar cheese. This percentage was significantly higher than the 4.9% of respondents who reported eating any raw milk cheese in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating Raw Farm brand raw cheddar cheese.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from all sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

Officials in California, Colorado, and Utah collected various Raw Farm products for testing including raw milk, raw butter, raw cheddar cheese, and raw kefir. So far, no samples have detected E. coli. Additional testing is ongoing.

On February 26, 2024, Raw Farm brand withdrew their recall. However, CDC continues to advise people not to eat, sell, or serve Raw Farm brand raw cheddar cheese while the investigation is ongoing.

As of February 16, 2024, a total of 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from four states – California, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Of 9 people with information available, 4 have been hospitalized and 1 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 8 people interviewed, 6 (75%) reported eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese. This percentage was significantly higher than the 4.9% of respondents who reported eating any raw milk cheese in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese.

CDC advises people not to eat, sell, or serve RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese while the investigation is ongoing. Recalled Raw Cheddar blocks and shredded cheese products. Sold at retailers nationwide – Original Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages and Cheddar with added Jalapeño Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages.

As of February 13, 2024, FDA has not received any additional confirmed complaints/reports of adverse events potentially linked to recalled product. To date, confirmed complainants, or people for whom a complaint or adverse event was submitted and met FDA’s complainant definition, are between zero and 53 years of age and the median age is one year old.

CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health is conducting case finding efforts in collaboration with state and local health departments. CDC’s case definition for state partners includes a blood lead level of 3.5 µg/dL or higher measured within 3 months after consuming a recalled WanaBana, Schnucks, or Weis brand fruit puree product after November 2022. As of February 9, CDC has received reports of 101 confirmed cases, 284 probable cases, and 37 suspected cases for a total of 422 cases from 44 different states through their reporting structure. For more information, please visit CDC’s page to review their case reporting methodology and findings.

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

FDA’s investigation is ongoing to determine the point of contamination and whether additional products are linked to illnesses. FDA has no indication that this issue extends beyond these recalled products and does not have any confirmed reports of illnesses or elevated blood lead level adverse events reported for other cinnamon-containing products or cinnamon.

Previous updates not captured by the initial timeline below are in the Previous Updatessection. FDA will update the advisory as information becomes available.

It has been a busy few months on outbreaks and recalls.

As of February 15, 2024, a total of 87 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from 30 states – Arizona 2, California 1, Colorado 1, Connecticut 1, Florida 2, Idaho 2, Illinois 1, Iowa 2, Kentucky 1, Louisiana 1, Maryland 4, Massachusetts 1, Michigan 1, Minnesota 2, Missouri 2, Nebraska 3, New Jersey 5, New York 9, North Dakota 1, Ohio 13, Oklahoma 1, Oregon 1, Pennsylvania 6, Tennessee 1, Texas 8, Utah 1, Vermont 1, Virginia 5, Washington 6 and Wisconsin 2.

 Illnesses started on dates ranging from November 20, 2023, to January 20, 2024. Of 74 people with information available, 18 have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

FSIS collected Coppa products from Fratelli Beretta, which tested positive for Salmonella. Whole genome sequencing showed it is a different strain of Salmonella from ill people in this outbreak and the Antipasto collected by the Minnesota Department of Health. Fratelli Beretta recalled many brands of charcuterie meat products containing Coppa due to Salmonella contamination.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. M47967 or M7543B” inside the USDA mark of inspection or in inkjet print on the front of the package. These items were shipped to distributor and retail locations nationwide.

FSIS is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health partners to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella. FSIS collected unopened RTE Coppa product as part of the investigation, which tested positive for Salmonella, but that product was not released into commerce. After further investigation, FSIS determined that the product subject to the recall may be under processed.

In the United States, the Salmonella Sundsvall outbreak linked to cantaloupe from Mexico has been declared over.  The outbreaks sickened 407 people in 44 states. Six deaths were reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first reported the outbreak on November 17.

Of the 362 patients with information available, 158 were hospitalized. 

Illnesses started from Oct. 15, 2023, to Dec. 25, 2023.

The patients ranged from less than 1 year old to 100 years, with a median age of 60. An unusually high percentage of the patients were five years or younger, with 26 percent of patients reported in that age group. Forty-seven percent of the patients were 65 years old or older.

Canadian officials have posted their final update on the Salmonella outbreak traced to cantaloupe, adding two deaths to the toll. There were 190 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella Soahanina, Sundsvall, Oranienburg, and Newport illnesses associated with the nationwide outbreak. Sixty-eight patients were hospitalized, and nine died.

Individuals who became ill were less than 1 to 100 years of age. Most of the patients were children five years or younger, 33 percent, or adults 65 years or older, 45 percent. About half of the cases were female.

The Canadian outbreak coincided with an outbreak in the United States that was traced to the same cantaloupe as was implicated in Canada. Recalls for Malichita and Rudy brand cantaloupe from Mexico began in November. Several secondary recalls of fresh-cut products made with the cantaloupes were initiated. Investigators found the outbreak strain of Salmonella on Malichita brand cantaloupe.

As of February 6, 2024, a total of 26 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from 11 states: Arizona 4, California 8, Colorado 4, Florida 1, Georgia 1, Nevada 1, North Carolina 1, Oregon 1, Tennessee 2, Texas 2, Washington 1. Two deaths have been reported, one from California and one from Texas.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 15, 2014, to December 10, 2023. Of 26 people with information available, 23 have been hospitalized. 

Among people who are pregnant, Listeria can cause pregnancy loss, premature birth, or a life-threatening infection in their newborn. In this outbreak, two people got sick during their pregnancy and one person had a pregnancy loss. There are also two newborns in the case count for this outbreak because Listeria can be passed to newborns during pregnancy.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the month before they got sick. Of the 22 people interviewed, 16 (73%) reported eating queso fresco, cotija, or other similar cheeses. Among people who remembered specific brands, three people who got sick between 2014 and 2022 reported Don Francisco brand queso fresco or cotija. Don Francisco is one of the brands of recalled cheeses.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS).

WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples from 2014 to present are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

In January 2024, the Hawaii State Department of Health’s Food and Drug Branch collected a sample of aged cotija cheese product made by Rizo-López Foods during routine sampling. Testing identified the outbreak strain of Listeria in the product.

FDA conducted inspections at the Rizo-López Foods facility and collected food and environmental samples for testing. FDA found the outbreak strain of Listeria on a container where cheeses are kept before they are packaged.

As of February 16, 2024, a total of 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from four states – California, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Of 9 people with information available, 4 have been hospitalized and 1 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 8 people interviewed, 6 (75%) reported eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese. This percentage was significantly higher than the 4.9% of respondents who reported eating any raw milk cheese in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese.

CDC advises people not to eat, sell, or serve RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese while the investigation is ongoing. Recalled Raw Cheddar blocks and shredded cheese products. Sold at retailers nationwide – Original Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages and Cheddar with added Jalapeño Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages.

Here is bit(e) of history:

Organic Pastures Dairy Company (OPDC) & Raw Farm LLC – Started OPDC in 2000 – Changed name to Raw Farm LLC in 2020

Organic Pastures Dairy Company Recalls and Outbreaks:

2023 Raw Farm LLC Recalls and Outbreaks:
May 2023 Campylobacter Raw Milk Recall
August 2023 Salmonella Cheese Recall 

October 2023 Salmonella Raw Milk Outbreak and Recall:
San Diego County—12 illnesses 
Orange County—7 illnesses 

Here is the 2023-2024 version – E. coli Outbreak and Recall:

As of February 16, 2024, a total of 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from four states – California, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Of 9 people with information available, 4 have been hospitalized and 1 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 8 people interviewed, 6 (75%) reported eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese. This percentage was significantly higher than the 4.9% of respondents who reported eating any raw milk cheese in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese.

CDC advises people not to eat, sell, or serve RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese while the investigation is ongoing. Recalled Raw Cheddar blocks and shredded cheese products. Sold at retailers nationwide – Original Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages and Cheddar with added Jalapeño Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages

You have to wonder what the owners of Raw Milk LLC and California State health authorities are thinking.

2023 Raw Farm LLC Recalls and Outbreaks:
May 2023 Campylobacter Raw Milk Recall
August 2023 Salmonella Cheese Recall 

October 2023 Salmonella Raw Milk Outbreak and Recall:
San Diego County—12 illnesses 
Orange County—7 illnesses 

Here is the 2023-2024 version – E. coli Outbreak and Recall:

As of February 16, 2024, a total of 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from four states – California, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Of 9 people with information available, 4 have been hospitalized and 1 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 8 people interviewed, 6 (75%) reported eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese. This percentage was significantly higher than the 4.9% of respondents who reported eating any raw milk cheese in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese.

CDC advises people not to eat, sell, or serve RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese while the investigation is ongoing. Recalled Raw Cheddar blocks and shredded cheese products:

Sold at retailers nationwide.

  • Original Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages
  • Cheddar with added Jalapeño Flavor: all sizes of blocks and shredded packages

Here is bit(e) of history:

Organic Pastures Dairy Company (OPDC) & Raw Farm
Started OPDC in 2000 – Changed name to Raw Farm LLC in 2020

Organic Pastures Dairy Company Recalls and Outbreaks:
September 2006 Raw Milk E.coli Outbreak: 6 ill/2 HUS 
September 2007 Raw Cream Listeria Recall
December 2007 Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak: 8 ill 
September 2008 Raw Cream Campylobacter Recall
November 2011 Raw Milk E.coli Outbreak: 5 ill/3 HUS 
May 2012 Campylobacter Raw Milk/Cream Outbreak: 10 ill, reported illnesses from Jan. thru April
October 2015 Campylobacter Raw Milk Recall
January 2016 E.coli Raw Milk Outbreak: 9 ill/2 HUS

As of February 15, 2024, a total of 87 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from 30 states – Arizona 2, California 1, Colorado 1, Connecticut 1, Florida 2, Idaho 2, Illinois 1, Iowa 2, Kentucky 1, Louisiana 1, Maryland 4, Massachusetts 1, Michigan 1, Minnesota 2, Missouri 2, Nebraska 3, New Jersey 5, New York 9, North Dakota 1, Ohio 13, Oklahoma 1, Oregon 1, Pennsylvania 6, Tennessee 1, Texas 8, Utah 1, Vermont 1, Virginia 5, Washington 6 and Wisconsin 2.

 Illnesses started on dates ranging from November 20, 2023, to January 20, 2024. Of 74 people with information available, 18 have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

FSIS collected Coppa products from Fratelli Beretta, which tested positive for Salmonella. Whole genome sequencing showed it is a different strain of Salmonella from ill people in this outbreak and the Antipasto collected by the Minnesota Department of Health. Fratelli Beretta recalled many brands of charcuterie meat products containing Coppa due to Salmonella contamination.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. M47967 or M7543B” inside the USDA mark of inspection or in inkjet print on the front of the package. These items were shipped to distributor and retail locations nationwide.

FSIS is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health partners to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella. FSIS collected unopened RTE Coppa product as part of the investigation, which tested positive for Salmonella, but that product was not released into commerce. After further investigation, FSIS determined that the product subject to the recall may be under processed.

Here we go again:

Organic Pastures Dairy Company (OPDC) & Raw Farm Recalls and Outbreaks 2006-2024
 
Started OPDC in 2000 – Changed name to Raw Farm LLC in 2020

I will always remember this kid I represented in the 2006 E. coli Outbreak:

Organic Pastures Dairy Company Recalls and Outbreaks:
 
September 2006 Raw Milk E.coli Outbreak: 6 ill/2 HUS 
 
September 2007 Raw Cream Listeria Recall
 
December 2007 Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak: 8 ill 
 
September 2008 Raw Cream Campylobacter Recall
 
November 2011 Raw Milk E.coli Outbreak: 5 ill/3 HUS 
 
May 2012 Campylobacter Raw Milk/Cream Outbreak: 10 ill, reported illnesses from Jan. thru April
 
October 2015 Campylobacter Raw Milk Recall
 
January 2016 E.coli Raw Milk Outbreak: 9 ill/2 HUS
 

Raw Farm LLC Recalls and Outbreaks:
 
May 2023 Campylobacter Raw Milk Recall
 
August 2023 Salmonella Cheese Recall 
 

October 2023 Salmonella Raw Milk Outbreak
San Diego County—12 illnesses 
Orange County—7 illnesses 

Here is the 2023-2024 version:

As of February 16, 2024, a total of 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli have been reported from four states – California, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 18, 2023, to January 29, 2024. Of 9 people with information available, 4 have been hospitalized and 1 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can cause kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak. CDC PulseNet manages a national database of DNA fingerprints of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. DNA fingerprinting is performed on bacteria using a method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. This suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from the same food.

State and local public health officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate in the week before they got sick. Of the 8 people interviewed, 6 (75%) reported eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese. This percentage was significantly higher than the 4.9% of respondents who reported eating any raw milk cheese in the FoodNet Population Survey—a survey that helps estimate how often people eat various foods linked to diarrheal illness. This difference suggests that people in this outbreak got sick from eating RAW FARM LLC brand raw cheddar cheese.

CDC advises people not to eat, sell, or serve RAW FARM brand raw cheddar cheese while the investigation is ongoing.

Food Safety News reports that in the past week, the number of children affected by extremely high levels of lead in certain cinnamon applesauce pouches has grown.

On Feb. 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that as of Feb. 9, it had received reports of 101 confirmed cases, 284 probable cases, and 37 suspected cases for 422 cases from 44 different states. That is up from 413 total cases in 43 states reported on Feb. 2.

The Food and Drug Administration has seen a leveling off in the reports it has received. As of Feb. 13, the agency had 90 reports, the same number reported in late January. The CDC and FDA use different reporting structures, and cases may overlap, so the agencies’ numbers should not be added together.

Reports of elevated lead levels in children who ate the applesauce from the implicated pouches began in the fall of 2023. Health officials in North Carolina reported those findings to federal officials, and the investigation began a few weeks later.

Three brands of cinnamon applesauce pouches were affected in the United States and have been recalled. Those brands are Wanabana, Schnucks and Weis. The products have a long shelf life, so health authorities are still urging parents to check their homes for the recalled products.

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.

The investigation

The FDA and officials in Ecuador — where the applesauce was produced — continue to investigate the situation. Some of the tests of cinnamon used to make the implicated applesauce showed 2,000 times the amount of lead considered safe.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revealed the name of the company that supplied tainted cinnamon used to make applesauce marketed for children in the United States. On Feb. 6, officials in Ecuador reported to the FDA that Carlos Aguilera of Ecuador was the processor of ground cinnamon used in making applesauce sold in pouches in the United States.

The cinnamon supplier sold the tainted spice to Negasmart, which sold the cinnamon to Austrofoods, the end producer of the applesauce. The FDA’s investigation is ongoing to determine the point of contamination and whether additional products are linked to illnesses.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the cinnamon supplier is currently not in business. The FDA’s deputy commissioner for human foods, Jim Jones, has said he believes the cinnamon was intentionally contaminated. Adding lead to spices and other products can increase the product’s weight and, therefore, its value.

“The FDA has limited authority over foreign ingredient suppliers who do not directly ship product to the U.S. This is because their food undergoes further manufacturing/processing before export. Thus, the FDA cannot take direct action with Negasmart or Carlos Aguilera,” according to a statement from the agency.

“FDA does not indicate that this issue extends beyond these recalled products and does not have any confirmed reports of illnesses or elevated blood lead level adverse events reported for other cinnamon-containing products or cinnamon.”

According to health officials in Ecuador, unprocessed cinnamon sticks used in recalled products were sourced from Sri Lanka. They were sampled by Ecuadoran officials and found to have no lead contamination.