(WJW) – Twenty-two children in the U.S. have been sickened from fruit pouches with high levels of lead, including one child in Ohio.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began investigating in October following multiple reports in North Carolina of children with elevated blood lead levels.
Health investigators in North Carolina identified WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree pouches as a potential source of exposure.
After analyzing multiple lots of the product, they found extremely high concentrations of lead.
WanaBana USA issued a recall of the Apple Cinnamon Fruit Purée pouches on Oct. 31 and expanded the recall on Nov. 9 to include Schnucks and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches.
The company said it was due to reports of elevated levels of lead found in certain units of the product.
The fruit pouches were sold in the U.S. at Dollar Tree and Amazon. A concern is also that the products have a long shelf-life, and some may not realize right away they have the recalled product.
Here’s what’s being pulled:
- WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree in three-pack pouches of 2.5 oz.
- Schnucks Apple Sauce 90g pouches with cinnamon. Affected lots are 05023:19, 09023:22 and 09023:24
- Weis Cinnamon Apple Sauce 90g, lot number 05023:28
The FDA determined that the levels of lead found in the pouches could result in acute lead toxicity.
Young children are particularly susceptible to falling ill from lead poisoning because they absorb four to five times more than adults, according to the World Health Organization.
The list of potential symptoms of lead poisoning is long. But the FDA also says there may be no immediate obvious symptoms. A healthcare provider can perform blood lead tests if you’re concerned.
What to watch for:
Short term exposure
- Abdominal pain/Colic
Longer term exposure
- Muscle aches or muscle prickling/burning
- Occasional abdominal discomfort
- Difficulty concentrating/Muscular exhaustibility
- Weight loss
What we know about the cases
Since the initial alert, there have been 22 reports of illness potentially linked to the recalled product submitted to the FDA.
Those who were sickened all fell ill between Oct. 17 and Nov. 7, 2023.
Here are all the states with illnesses reported: AL (1), AR (1), LA (2), MD (1), MO (1), NC (5), NM (1), NY (2), OH (1), PA (1), SC (2), TN (1), TX (1) WA (1), Unknown (1)
To gather more information, the FDA and state partners are collecting and analyzing additional samples of fruit puree and applesauce pouches. So far, no elevated levels of lead have been found in any non-recalled products.
As to how the fruit pouches have been contaminated with lead has still not been determined.