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November 06, 2023

3 brands of applesauce pouches recalled due to potential lead contamination

The apple cinnamon fruit puree products are from WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis. Seven people in five states have reported illnesses, the FDA says

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FDA Fruit Pouch Recall Weis Provided Image/U.S. Food & Drug Administration

The FDA is investigating apple cinnamon fruit pouches from the brands WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis (pictured above) after lead contamination potentially caused seven reported illnesses in five states.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration is expanding its investigation on apple cinnamon fruit pouches after lead contamination potentially caused several reported illnesses.

Last month, the WanaBana fruit company issued a recall for its apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches. Now, federal health officials are warning people not to buy or consume cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches from the Schnucks supermarket chain as well as from Weis Markets, which is headquartered in Sunbury, Pennsylvania.

In October, while investigating reports of four children with elevated blood lead levels, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services analyzed the WanaBana puree and found "extremely high concentrations of lead." The FDA confirmed the NCDHHS's findings and said consuming lead in the levels found could result in "acute toxicity." 

The FDA has since received reports of seven illnesses in five states — Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri and North Carolina — that are potentially connected with the contaminated fruit pouches. The FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network is now leading the investigation into the potentially lead-contaminated applesauces in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health officials.

Following WanaBana's recall and the FDA safety alert, Schnucks and Weis also issued recalls on their potentially affected fruit pouch products. The following products have been recalled:

• All WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree Pouches
• Weis-brand cinnamon applesauce pouches with the UPC 041497216123
• Schnucks Cinnamon Applesauce Pouch, 12-pack, UPC 4131801152
• Schnucks Cinnamon Applesauce Pouch 4-pack, UPC 4131801155
• Schnucks Applesauce Pouch Variety 20-pack, UPC 4131801157

WanaBana fruit pouches are sold through several retailers, including Amazon and Dollar Tree. Schnucks-brand fruit pouches are sold at Schnucks and Eatwell Market grocery stores. Weis-brand fruit pouches are sold at Weis grocery stores.

Lead is toxic to people of any age and health status. Exposure to heavy metals like lead in large amounts can lower energy levels and damage the functioning of the brain, lungs, kidney, liver and other important organs, according to the National Library of Medicine. 

Heavy metals are of greatest concern in children and during pregnancy as they can damage a child's brain and nervous system. In children, lead exposure can cause comas, convulsions, permanent intellectual disabilities and death. In adults, frequent lead exposure can cause a suppressed immune system, reproductive issues, kidney damage and hypertension.

Short-term exposure to lead can cause symptoms like headache, abdominal pain, vomiting and anemia. Long-term exposure can cause irritability, lethargy, muscle aches, constipation, difficulty concentrating and weight loss.

Despite the danger of lead to children, most kids show no obvious, immediate symptoms following exposure. Therefore, parents and caretakers should consult a medical professional if they suspect a child has been exposed to lead.

The FDA says people should discard the recalled pouches. Consumers should contact a medical professional if they have symptoms of lead toxicity after eating any of the recalled fruit pouches, or if they believe a child was exposed.

Photos of some of the recalled products can be seen below:

Fruit Pouch Recall FDAProvided Image/U.S. Food & Drug Administration

WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis brand apple cinnamon pouches have been recalled due to possible lead exposure.

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