The baby food pouches have been recalled due to illnesses linked to lead contamination

Share on Pinterest
Several types of baby food bags are voluntarily recalled. SanyaSM/Getty Images
  • The FDA is investigating three companies that are voluntarily recalling pouches of apple cinnamon baby food because of elevated lead levels.
  • The federal investigation follows multiple reports of lead poisoning among young children in several states.
  • Heavy metals like lead are found in many foods, but toxicity from lead exposure can build up over time.
  • Consumers can protect themselves by avoiding recalled baby food bags and taking precautions to minimize lead exposure from other foods.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an investigation three companies that make apple cinnamon baby food pouches after several reports of lead poisoning affecting young children in at least five states.

The products at the center of the voluntary product recall include:

  • They pinch themselves packets of cinnamon applesauce (available at most retailers, including Amazon)
  • Schnucks Cinnamon Flavored Applesauce Pouches and assorted packaging (sold at Schnucks grocery stores and Eatwell Markets)
  • Weis Brand Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches (sold at Weis grocery stores)

In North Carolina, where the FDA investigation began, four cases of acute lead poisoning in children were reported. State health officials have urged caution against buying or feeding pouches of WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree to toddlers and young children because of potentially elevated lead levels.

“WanaBana USA has initiated a voluntary recall of the affected batches and is working closely with the FDA to investigate the source of the contamination,” the company said in statement published by the FDA. “The company is committed to ensuring the safety of its products and the well-being of its users.”

Schnucks officials said their supplier was reporting higher-than-normal levels of lead in the cinnamon.

“Consumers who have purchased this product are urged to stop using it immediately. Affected products can be returned to the Schnucks or Eatwell Market store where they were purchased for a full refund. Customers with questions may contact the Schnucks customer service team at 314-994-4400 or 1-800-264-4400,” the company said in a statement.

Healthline reached out to Weis for further comment, but did not immediately hear back.

The FDA advises consumers not to eat, sell, or serve the recalled products because all batch codes and expiration dates are included in the recalls. The agency is working to determine the source of the contamination, which is likely related to large amounts of lead in the raw cinnamon material used by the product’s manufacturers.

Lead poisoning can affect anyone, regardless of age or health. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself.

Contaminants such as lead can enter foods during the manufacturing process. Some spices, such as cinnamon, have been found to contain heavy metals such as lead.

In 2021 User reports tested 126 common herbs and spices and found that many common products contained arsenic, cadmium and lead. A 2018 review notes that lead can contaminate spices at various points in the global supply chain.

Nutritional scientist Brian Quoc Le, Ph.D., research associate at Pacific Lutheran University and author of “150 Answers to the Food Science Question,” explained to Healthline:

“Contaminants can enter through ingredients that were previously contaminated during harvesting and processing, water used in the manufacturing process, piping that may contain heavy metals in the alloy, or the accidental inclusion of metal shavings or pieces in vats and production lines by workers during repair or remodeling”.

Lead exposure is usually minimal and toxicity builds up over time. This means that most children exposed to lead may not experience symptoms right away.

Trista Best, MPH, a registered dietitian and environmental health specialist with Balance One supplements, told Healthline that lead poisoning can present with a variety of symptoms and signs. These may include:

  • decreased appetite
  • irritability
  • fatigue
  • a bad dream
  • headache
  • loss of concentration or focus
  • abdominal pain or cramping
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • weight loss

More severe cases of lead poisoning and toxicity in children can lead to learning disabilities and developmental delays, Best said.

“High levels of lead can affect a baby’s cognitive and physical development, potentially leading to speech and language delays as well as behavioral problems,” Best said.

“Additionally, lead exposure can cause anemia, which can lead to paleness, fatigue and weakness in affected infants. It is important to note that the symptoms of lead poisoning can be subtle, making diagnosis difficult.”

If you think your child has been exposed to lead in their food, you should contact a health professional. Your doctor or pediatrician may administer a blood test to check for lead exposure.

If lead toxicity is found, your doctor may recommend a protocol to remove lead from the body or reduce further exposure. In severe cases, your doctor may recommend chelation therapy, a treatment that deals with lead build-up in the body.

“Regular screening and monitoring for lead exposure in infants, especially those who have ingested contaminated baby food, is essential to ensure early detection and intervention to mitigate potential long-term health effects,” advises Best.

The FDA advises consumers to avoid buying packages of baby food with apple and cinnamon, but traces of lead can still be found in many foods.

You can reduce the potential for lead exposure from other foods by washing fruits, vegetables, and grains thoroughly.

Be sure to get enough calcium in your diet research suggests can help prevent your body from absorbing lead.

The FDA is investigating three companies selling pouches of applesauce and cinnamon baby food after reports of acute lead toxicity in children.

Consumers are advised to avoid the recalled products until the FDA’s investigation is complete.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *