Apple Cinnamon Fruit Pouch Lead Poisoning Recall Expanded to Weis and Schnucks Brands

Dangerous levels of toxic lead have been found in additional varieties of cinnamon fruit pouches, which have now sickened dozens of children in multiple states.

Federal health officials have expanded a WanaBana fruit puree pouch recall to include additional products sold under Weis and Schnucks brands, which may pose lead poisoning risks to children.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the expanded WanaBana, Weis, and Schnucks fruit pouch recall on November 9, indicating certain batches of Weis and Schnucks cinnamon-flavored fruit products also have extremely high concentrations of lead. Investigators conducted sample testing and identified exceptionally high lead levels in several batches of the WanaBana apple cinnamon variety last month, which were independently distributed to the chain grocery stores.

Officials warn the concentrations of lead found in the fruit puree pouches are high enough to cause lead poisoning if consumed. To date, the agency has become aware of at least 22 lead-related illnesses that may be linked to the contaminated products from consumers in at least 14 states, according to the investigation.

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WanaBana Lead Poisoning Recall

The expanded recall follows an FDA advisory issued on October 28, which warned that the children’s fruit products potentially contained dangerously high lead levels, and urged consumers to avoid them. The warning was issued following an investigation led by North Carolina health officials that identified the fruit puree pouches as the potential lead exposure source for four children who suffered elevated blood lead levels and acute lead poisoning.

Days later, a WanaBana fruit pouch recall was issued over lead exposure and poisoning risks on October 31, which impacted dozens of batches of 2.5 oz. WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches, sold in packs of three that were distributed online and to stores nationwide. At the time of the initial recall, the agency had become aware of at least seven adverse events in relation to lead contamination from consumers in at least five states.

While federal and state health officials are still working to determine the source of the lead contamination, the FDA identified elevated lead levels in several batches of fruit products sold under Weis and Schnucks brands that were distributed by WanaBana, prompting the agency to issue an expanded recall.

WanaBana, Weis, and Schnucks Apple Cinnamon Fruit Pouch Recall

The recall now impacts all lots of 2.5 oz. WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches sold in packs of three, and also includes 90g Weis cinnamon apple sauce pouches with lot number 05023:28, as well as Schnucks apple sauce 90g pouches with cinnamon with lot numbers 05023:19, 09023:22 and 09023:24.

Consumers who may have purchased the recalled products are urged to return them to their original place of purchase for a full refund. The FDA also advises consumers, or those with children who may have consumed the fruit pouches, to contact their healthcare provider immediately.

For more information, consumers may email WanaBana at support@wanabanafruits.com.

The FDA also urges consumers to report any adverse reactions experienced after consuming the fruit pouches to the FDA MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program.

Lead Poisoning Risks

Lead is toxic heavy metal that can cause permanent brain damage, nervous system injuries, physical and mental disabilities, or other severe, long-term health consequences, especially to children, who are still developing and often do not show signs or symptoms of lead exposure.

Short-term lead exposure can cause headaches, abdominal pain, or vomiting, while longer exposure can result in irritability, fatigue, lethargy, difficulty concentrating, muscular exhaustion, and tremors.

Prior research has shown lead exposure during childhood can reduce the brain’s structural integrity later in life, resulting in reduced IQ scores and cognitive functioning.

Even low amount of lead exposure can result in adverse health events or permanent brain damage among children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there is no safe lead exposure level for children, and any exposure can increase the risk of developing nervous system injuries, brain injuries, seizures, convulsions, mental retardation, delayed growth, coma, and even death.

Other research has shown children with lead poisoning had lower standardized testing scores, and linked childhood lead exposure as a contributing factor for nearly 30% of ADHD among children.

Health experts also suggest that exposure to lead, even at low levels, is an unacknowledged contributor of deaths in the United States, and may cause nearly 412,000 deaths each year.

Image Credit: Close up portrait of sweet toddler kid eating fruit puree from plastic doy pack, sitting in stroller, outdoor snack time

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