The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expanded its investigation into elevated levels of lead found in apple sauce packets marketed for children after receiving reports of at least seven illnesses across five states.
The FDA said on Friday two additional brands of products, Schnucks cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety pack and certain Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches, were subject to recall.
That followed the administration’s initial Oct. 28 safety alert warning parents and caregivers not to buy of feed WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree Pouches to toddlers and young children because of elevated lead levels.
Along with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, the FDA began investigating reports of four children with elevated blood lead levels, indicating potential acute lead toxicity. The NCDHHS investigation identified WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree pouches as a potential shared source of exposure.
As part of their probe, NCDHHS analyzed multiple lots of WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree, detecting extremely high concentrations of lead.
The FDA has reviewed and supports NCDHHS’s analytical findings and found that analytical results at this level could result in acute toxicity.
The FDA has shared the results with the firm and on Oct. 31, Wanabana of Coral Gables, Florida, initiated a voluntary recall of all WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree Pouches. Since the first alert was issued, the investigation has been transferred to FDA’s Coordinated Outbreak Response & Evaluation Network for additional follow up, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local partners.
After identifying the two additional brands, the FDA said it has received additional reports of illnesses and is working to evaluate those complaints. “FDA’s investigation is ongoing to determine the source of lead contamination and whether additional products are linked to illnesses. FDA will update this advisory as information becomes available,” the release said.
In announcing the recall Friday, the Schnucks Markets of St. Louis said its supplier, Purcell International, notified the company of elevated levels of lead found in the cinnamon raw material used by manufacturer Austrofood SAS.