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WanaBana Lawsuit 2024 Update: FDA Blamed? (Get Facts Now)

Nearly 120 cases of lead poisoning in children have been linked to tainted cinnamon applesauce pouches manufactured in Ecuador and sold nationally at various retailers including Sam’s Club, Amazon, and Dollar Tree under the brand names WanaBana, Weis and Schnucks.
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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 WanaBana 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: Chromium Found in Recalled Applesauce Pouches, FDA Said

January 8, 2024 – The FDA announced on Friday that it had found another metal contaminant in the recalled applesauce products that have been linked to hundreds of lead poisoning cases across the U.S. The recalled WanaBana LLC applesauce products and cinnamon collected from Ecuador-based Austrofood showed a “high level of chromium,” which has been linked to cancer in elevated dosages.

People who ate recalled products, especially if they had elevated blood lead levels, may have been exposed to chromium and should inform their healthcare provider so they can monitor health and provide supportive care, as needed,  the FDA said in its update.

Although the cinnamon applesauce pouches were recalled in mid-November, the agency is concerned that some of the products were sitting on store shelves of some Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores as late as mid-December as lead poisoning cases continued to increase nationwide.

Lead Poisoning Outbreak Linked to Contaminated Applesauce: FDA Warning

According to the FDA, on October 31, 2023, WanaBana issued a nationwide recall for all of its apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches [1] as part of an ongoing investigation into lead-contaminated food products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As stated by the FDA, on November 9, WanaBana expanded its recall [2] to include 2 additional products:

  1. Schnuck cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches
  2. Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches

FDA said the source of the contamination appears to be the cinnamon used to flavor the applesauce.

Lead Exposure Symptoms

Experts have been alarmed at the lead content in the pouches, some of which have tested at more than 500 times the acceptable threshold. Parents of exposed children told investigators that the applesauce pouches were a favorite treat, and some children reportedly consumed up to 6 pouches per day.

Many children who have been exposed to lead may have no apparent symptoms (asymptomatic). However, even low levels of lead have been linked to serious learning and behavior problems, hearing and speech problems, and slowed growth. These issues may present later in life as lower IQ, decreased ability to pay attention, and underperformance in school.

Children who are exposed to large amounts of lead may develop symptoms of acute lead poisoning, which may include:

  • Abdominal pain, constipation, and nausea
  • Anemia
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Severe neurological symptoms (including seizures, encephalopathy, and coma)

 

FDA Says Lead Contamination in Applesauce Pouches May Have Been Intentional

According to an email sent to Helio, the FDA continues to investigate the cause of elevated levels of lead in recalled cinnamon applesauce pouches, which may have been an intentional act of contamination [3].

The spokesperson confirmed that the FDA is investigating the theory that cinnamon in the products may have been tainted as a result of economically motivated adulteration, which the agency describes as “when someone intentionally leaves out, takes out, or substitutes a valuable ingredient or part of a food.”

So far all of the signals we’re getting lead to an intentional act on the part of someone in the supply chain and we’re trying to sort of figure that out,  said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods Jim JonesMy instinct is they didn’t think this product was going to end up in a country with a robust regulatory process. They thought it was going to end up in places that did not have the ability to detect something like this.

North Carolina Family Sues WanaBana After Extreme Levels of Lead Found in Daughter’s Blood

For months, a family from Wake Forest, North Carolina, was in a panic after high levels of lead were found in their baby daughter’s blood.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of plaintiffs Eric and Heather Goolsby alleges that the high levels of lead were identified during a mandatory checkup program for 1-year-old children. The lead content of the victim’s blood was 20 mcg/dL. A normal level should be under 3.5 mcg/dL, according to the lawsuit.

Local Health and Human Services (HHS) visited the Goolsby’s home on several occasions, testing water, soil, air, clothing, paint, and vehicles to find the source of the lead. However, when the FDA issued its recall for the WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree, the Goolsby’s knew that was it, as they’d fed dozens of the pouches to their daughter.

The couple filed the lawsuit against WanaBana within days, proposing to make it a class action. Heather Goolsby said the lawsuit is not about the money, it’s about warning families and holding the manufacturers accountable for their negligence.

I go back and forth between feeling guilty that I fed her this, and it had lead in it, and angry that this company sold me this product that I thought was safe, Goolsby said.

What are WanaBana Lawsuits Alleging?

The packaging of recalled WanaBana applesauce states that the product is healthy for children, containing only fruit and “no added sugar.” Additionally, the company’s website displays numerous certifications from international product safety organizations.

Unfortunately, there is no warning of potential lead contamination on the labeling of WanaBana apple sauce. Without adequate warning, a reasonable consumer would not assume a product would contain any level of lead toxicity.

WanaBana’s negligence in not including a safety warning has not only endangered the lives of developing children but has also enriched the company.

What You Should Do if Your Purchased Recalled WanaBana Applesauce

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning consumers not to eat any recalled apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches. Discard them immediately or return them to the point of purchase for a refund.

Consult your physician about getting a blood test for lead if your child or other loved one may have consumed recalled WanaBana applesauce. Healthcare providers and most local health departments can test for lead in the blood. Many private insurance policies cover the cost of testing for lead in the blood.

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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/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/wanabana-issues-voluntary-recall-wanabana-apple-cinnamon-fruit-puree-pouches-due-elevated-lead
  2. https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/wanabana-recalls-wanabana-weis-and-schnucks-apple-cinnamon-fruit-puree-pouches-cinnamon-apple-sauce
  3. https://www.healio.com/news/pediatrics/20231219/fda-lead-contamination-of-applesauce-pouches-may-have-been-intentional

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