Applesauce pouches recalled for lead contamination

Published 3:31 pm Tuesday, December 5, 2023

KENTUCKY TODAY

Local and federal officials are warning parents not to serve their children several brands of recalled apple cinnamon fruit pouches, as a U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation into elevated lead levels in the products.

The recalled applesauce pouches include:

• WanaBana brand apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches.

• Schnucks brand cinnamon applesauce pouches.

• Weis-brand cinnamon applesauce pouches.

The FDA says as of November 30, 2023, there have been 57 reports across the country of adverse events potentially linked to the recalled product submitted to FDA. To date, confirmed complainants are from children ages one to five.

Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW) says there have not been any confirmed reports of elevated blood level levels linked to the recalled applesauce in Kentucky thus far. However, health officials continue to alert families, caregivers and physicians of the ongoing situation.    

“We are aware these are popular snacks children consume and we want everyone in our community who cares for our youngest population to understand the dangers of lead exposure and the signs and symptoms,” said Dr. Kris Bryant, associate medical director at LMPHW and pediatric infectious disease specialist at Norton Children’s. “There are no safe levels of lead in blood. The way to protect kids is to stop the exposure.”

Austrofood, along with Wanabana USA, the distributor of WanaBana products in the United States, released a statement that reports that Wanabana has conducted a root cause investigation, and determined that the cinnamon used to manufacture the recalled products is the source of the lead. The company says the cinnamon was supplied by Negocios Asociados Mayoristas S.A., operating as Negasmart, a third-party distribution company located in Ecuador.

The FDA says they are continuing to work with Ecuadorian authorities to investigate the source of the contamination.

Lead is toxic to humans of any age but protecting children from exposure is especially important because they are more susceptible to the harms of lead. It can damage a child’s brain and nervous system and impact their growth, behavior and ability to learn.

To properly discard the product, the FDA says consumers and retailers should carefully open the pouch and empty the content into a trash can before discarding the packaging, to prevent others from salvaging recalled product from the trash. Clean up any spills after discarding the product then wash your hands.