The Food and Drug Administration has issued a recent update indicating that at least 18 more children have been sickened by the recently recalled applesauce fruit pouches due to dangerous lead contamination. This brings the total number of affected children to 52 across 22 states.
Investigators found that the lead contained in the recalled applesauce pouches, which were manufactured in Ecuador and sold under the WanaBana, Schnucks, and Weiss brands, had 2.18 parts per million of lead. This finding was 200 times more than what the FDA proposed as an action level in draft guidance for baby food.
The FDA believes that the source of the lead contamination is the cinnamon used in the recalled pouches, as tests of non-recalled products without cinnamon did not find lead in them.
Despite the recall, WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Puree pouches are still available at several Dollar Tree stores in multiple states. The FDA is working with the chain of stores to ensure an effective recall.
Consumers and retailers are advised to properly discard the product by carefully opening the pouch, emptying the contents into a trash can, and discarding the packaging to prevent others from salvaging recalled product from the trash. The FDA also advises washing hands after discarding the product and ensuring that no spills are left behind.
Lead exposure can seriously harm a child’s health and lead to long-term health effects, including damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems, according to the CDC.
It is important to be vigilant about lead exposure and if you believe you or a loved one has been affected by lead contamination, it is essential to seek medical attention and get tested for lead exposure.