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Schnucks Applesauce Recall in 2024: Lawsuit and Latest News

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received dozens of reports of lead poisoning illnesses in young children that have been linked to potentially contaminated Schnucks brand cinnamon applesauce pouches and other similar products.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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If your child or other loved one developed symptoms of lead poisoning, or was otherwise sickened after eating recalled applesauce products, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Schnucks Applesauce Lawsuit and our lawyers can help. Please click the button below for a Free Confidential Case Evaluation or call us toll-free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.

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Update: FDA Says Tainted Applesauce Contained Toxic Chemical Chromium

January 5, 2024 – The recalled cinnamon applesauce pouches that are suspected in causing lead poisoning in hundreds of U.S. children contain “a high level” of the chemical element chromium, which can be toxic, the FDA announced today. The new details come as the CDC reported 287 confirmed, probable or suspected lead poisoning cases from 37 U.S. states in the outbreak.

Chromium is a naturally occurring element that is commonly found in trace amounts in the human diet. One type, called chromium III, is considered an essential nutrient; however, another, chromium VI, is known to cause cancer.

The lead-to-chromium ratio found by investigators is consistent with lead chromate, a compound that has been previously listed as a contaminant in spices, FDA said. But that finding is not definitive evidence that the substance was the contaminant in the pouches.

Applesauce Recall Linked to 64 Lead Poisoning Illnesses in Children: FDA Warning

According to an FDA press release [1] issued on December 5, 2023, the number of children diagnosed with elevated lead concentrations after consuming apple cinnamon pouches has risen to 64.

Everyone who got lead poisoning from applesauce to date is under 6 years old and developed their condition within three months after consuming the recalled products. There have been cases reported in more than 30 U.S. states, including Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, the FDA said.

The first lead poisoning illnesses in the outbreak began being reported in October when the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services kicked off an investigation on cases involving 4 sick children.

All of the kids had high blood lead levels, suggesting potential acute lead toxicity, and all had recently consumed WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches. Investigators analyzed the pouches and found “extremely high concentrations of lead.”

In one product sample of a WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Puree from Dollar Tree, the level detected was 2.18 parts per million, the FDA said — more than 200 times greater than the action level the agency had proposed in previous draft guidance for products intended for babies and young children.

Which Apple Sauce Products Were Recalled?

On October 30, 2023, WanaBana USA recalled WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Purée 3-pack pouches of 2.5 oz due to reports of elevated levels of lead found in the products. The following week, 2 additional brands of products were recalled: Schnuck cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety pack and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches.

Where Were the Contaminated Applesauce Pouches Sold?

WanaBana applesauce products were sold at various retailers including Sam’s Club, Amazon, and Dollar Tree. Schnucks brand cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety packs are sold at Schnucks and Eatwell Markets grocery stores. Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches are sold at Weis grocery stores.

Lead Poisoning Symptoms in Children

Lead is toxic to everyone, but children are at the greatest risk for problems because their bodies absorb it more easily than those of older kids and adults.

Children 9 months to 2 years old are more likely to have higher lead levels because they crawl around and put their hands and other things in their mouths.

Many children with lead poisoning have no symptoms. However, even a low level of lead in the blood can lead to learning and behavior problems, like trouble paying attention. Symptoms of lead poisoning include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling tired or irritable
  • Poor growth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headaches

Applesauce Pouches Recalled After Dozens of Kids Sickened by Lead Poisoning: NewsChannel 5 Video

FDA Update on Elevated Lead Levels in Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches

According to an FDA update [2.] published on December 19, 2023, at least 69 complaints of adverse events potentially linked to recalled apple cinnamon pouches have been reported to date in children under the age of six.

States with a complaint linked to recalled applesauce products include AL (1), AR (1), CA (1), CT (1), FL (1), GA (2), IA (1), IL (3), KY (3), LA (4), MA (3), MD (6), MI (3), MO (1), NC (5), NE (2), NH (1), NM (1), NY (8), OH (3), PA (1), SC (2), TN (1), TX (3), VA (2), WA (3), WI (2), WV (1), Unknown (3).

Additionally, the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) has received reports of 67 confirmed cases, 122 probable cases, and 16 suspected cases, for a total of 205 cases from 33 different states.

CDC and FDA have different data sources, so the counts reported by each agency will not directly correspond,  FDA saidIn addition, some people who were affected by the contaminated product might be reflected in both the numbers reported by the FDA and the numbers reported by CDC, so the numbers should not be added together.

Applesauce May Have Been Contaminated by Tainted Cinnamon

In late November, Austrofood and Wanabana USA, the distributor of WanaBana products in the U.S., issued a statement indicating that cinnamon in the applesauce pouches is the likely culprit behind the elevated lead levels.

The cinnamon in the recalled products was sourced from Negocios Asociados Mayoristas S.A., doing business (D/B/A) as Negasmart, a distribution company located in Ecuador.

FDA Recommendation

The FDA is advising consumers not to eat, sell, or serve recalled WanaBana, Schnucks, or Weis-brand apple cinnamon pouches, and to discard them immediately.

To properly discard the product, you should carefully open the pouch and empty the contents into the trash before discarding the packaging to prevent others from salvaging it from the trash. Clean up any spills after discarding the product and then wash your hands.

If you suspect that your child may have been exposed to lead, you should talk to your doctor about getting a blood test.

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The Food Poisoning Litigation Group at Schmidt Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Schnucks Applesauce Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new food poisoning cases in all 50 states.

Again, if your child or other loved one developed symptoms of lead poisoning, or was otherwise sickened in any way after eating recalled applesauce products, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.

References:

  1. https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/investigation-elevated-lead-levels-cinnamon-applesauce-pouches-november-2023

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