🍎 High levels of lead in pouches prompt recalls

🍎 An FDA administrator told Politco the contamination of may be intentional

🍎 Lead poisoning does not have any immediate obvious symptoms

The contamination of three brands of applesauce pouches with high lead concentrations could have been intentional, according to a Food and Drug Administration deputy commissioner.

A distributor named Wanabana voluntarily recalled all WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree Pouches regardless of the expiration date and lot code. Certain Schnucks cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches were also part of the recall. The FDA also reported that some Dollar Tree stores did not remove the recalled products from its shelves.

As of December 12, the FDA said it received 65 reports of “adverse events," all in children under the age of 6. One of the reported cases was in New Hampshire, the only one in New England.  A specific location was not disclosed.

All pouches should be emptied before throwing away.

The FDA is conducting onsite inspections of the Austrofoods facility located in Ecuador, and is analyzing samples of cinnamon collected from the lots used in the recalled product. The supplier of the cinnamon, Negasmart, does not directly export its products to the United States.

Schnucks is a midwest supermarket chain. Weis is a mid-Atlantic chain with locations in New York and New Jersey.

Brands of applesauce recalled for possible high lead concentrations
Brands of applesauce recalled for possible high lead concentrations (FDA)

'Intentional act'

Jim Jones, the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods, told Politico that the "signals" the FDA is getting during its investigation "lead to an intentional act on the part of someone in the supply chain and we’re trying to sort of figure that out."

Jones theorizes that whoever contaminated the cinnamon didn't think it would wind up in a country with a robust regulatory process, according to Politico.

Lead poisoning symptoms don't show right away

Lead is toxic to humans and can affect people of any age, according to the FDA.

Children are more susceptible to lead poisoning and will not immediately show any obvious symptoms.

Lead can lead to developmental problems such as slowed growth, learning problems, hearing and problems, and behavioral problems.

Symptoms of short-term exposure can include headache, abdominal pain/colic, vomiting and anemia. Longer term exposure could lead to irritability, lethargy, fatigue, muscle aches or muscle prickling/burning, constipation, difficulty concentrating/muscular weakness, tremor and weight loss.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via X (Twitter) @DanAlexanderNH

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