Table Of Contents
- Update: FDA Says Applesauce Pouches Recalled for Lead Also Contained Another Toxic Chemical
- Lead Poisoning Outbreak Prompts Nationwide Applesauce Recalls
- How Many Children Have Been Sickened by Contaminated Applesauce?
- What is Lead Poisoning?
- What are the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning in a Child?
- Applesauce Recall Linked to More Than 60 Lead Poisoning Cases, FDA Says: ABC News Video
- Cinnamon Applesauce Investigation Finds Lead Levels 2,000 times higher than FDA standards
- How Did the Applesauce Become Contaminated with Lead?
- Makers of Recalled Applesauce Sued for Lead Poisoning
- Get a Free Weis Applesauce Evaluation With Our Lawyers
Update: FDA Says Applesauce Pouches Recalled for Lead Also Contained Another Toxic Chemical
The FDA warned on Jan. 5, 2024, that applesauce pouches previously recalled for lead contamination may also contain a “high level” of chromium, which can also be toxic.
“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,” FDA said.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral. There are 2 forms of the chemical: trivalent chromium, which is safe for humans, and hexavalent chromium, which is a toxin. Some people experience side effects such as stomach upset, headaches, insomnia, and mood changes. High doses have been linked to more serious side effects including liver or kidney damage.
FDA said the recalled applesauce pouches could still be found on the shelves of some Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores as recently as mid-December.
Lead Poisoning Outbreak Prompts Nationwide Applesauce Recalls
Lawsuits over the wave of child lead poisoning cases associated with recalled applesauce products have started to be filed in courts across the U.S., marking the beginning of what is likely to be a protracted legal battle over metal contamination affecting dozens of kids nationwide.
On October 29, 2023, WanaBana recalled its apple cinnamon purée pouches  after health officials detected “extremely high concentrations of lead” in product samples and determined the purée was the source of elevated lead levels in the blood of children, according to the FDA.
In several cases, investigators detected lead levels 200 times greater than the action level the agency proposed in draft guidance for fruit purées made for babies and young children.
WanaBana expanded the recall on November 9th to include products distributed under supermarket chains Weis and Schnucks’ in-house brands. The recalled applesauce products were sold at various retailers including Sam’s Club, Amazon, and Dollar Tree.
How Many Children Have Been Sickened by Contaminated Applesauce?
As of December 5, the FDA had received at least 64 reports of children aged 6 years and younger with illnesses and “adverse events” potentially linked to the recalled applesauce products. Reports of child illnesses associated with the outbreak have grown steadily since the initial WanaBana applesauce recall in late October.
What is Lead Poisoning?
Lead is a naturally occurring heavy metal that is commonly used in plumbing, construction materials, and car batteries. Long-term exposure to lead can cause severe health problems, especially in children whose brains and nervous systems haven’t fully developed.
Lead is the most dangerous when it is swallowed or inhaled. The metal accumulates in the body over months or even years. Once in the blood, lead can cause anemia, which decreases the oxygen-carrying ability of red blood cells. It can also affect the absorption of calcium, which is necessary for growing bones and teeth.
The longer a child is exposed to lead, the more it gets distributed to soft tissue and bones. Over time, there is a constant interplay where lead moves within blood, bone, and tissue.
Related Article: Applesauce Recall Lead Lawsuit Update
What are the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning in a Child?
In many cases, children who have been exposed to lead have no recognizable symptoms. When and if they do present, however, symptoms of acute lead poisoning in children may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Severe neurological symptoms (seizures, encephalopathy, coma)
Cinnamon Applesauce Investigation Finds Lead Levels 2,000 times higher than FDA standards
Tests of cinnamon samples collected during an inspection of an Ecuadorian facility linked with contaminated applesauce pouches identified lead levels that were over 2,000 times higher than proposed standards, according to an FDA update [2.] published on December 19, 2023.
Through its continuing investigation, the FDA says there have been at least 69 reports of illnesses – all in children under 6 – linked to pouches sold under the recalled Weis, WanaBana, and Schnucks brands. The CDC, which uses different data sources, says it’s received reports of 205 confirmed, probable, or suspected cases in 33 states.
During a recent FDA inspection of an Austrofood facility in Ecuador, investigators took samples of cinnamon that were sourced by another company, Negasmart.
The samples had “extremely high levels of lead contamination, 5110 parts per million (ppm) and 2270 ppm,” the agency said in its update. “For context, the international standard-setting body, Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) is considering adopting a maximum level of 2.5 ppm for lead in bark spices, including cinnamon, in 2024.”
How Did the Applesauce Become Contaminated with Lead?
Following the FDA’s initial warning about the tainted applesauce products in late October, WanaBana has stated that the company is working with the FDA to identify the source of contamination.
The investigation ultimately determined that cinnamon in the applesauce is the likely culprit, as similar products that do not contain cinnamon have not shown high levels of lead.
“The FDA is continuing to work with Ecuadorian authorities to investigate the source of the contamination and to determine if the cinnamon in the recalled products was used in other products or distributed as a raw ingredient to other countries,” the agency said. “FDA has confirmed that Negasmart does not import cinnamon directly into the U.S.”
Wanabana said the cinnamon in the recalled products was sourced from Negocios Asociados Mayoristas S.A., doing business (D/B/A) as Negasmart, an Ecuadorian distribution company.
Makers of Recalled Applesauce Sued for Lead Poisoning
Following the applesauce recall, parents of children who were allegedly poisoned have started to file lawsuits against the manufacturer, with the first cases entered in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
One of the first to file suit, Plaintiff Mustafa Al-Khaled of Norfolk, Nebraska, alleges that he first began noticing changes in his 17-month-old son’s health and personality in October. He said his son (who is referred to in the complaint as “A.A.”), had been eating the apple purée since August.
“A.A. was losing weight at an alarming rate, would cry uncontrollably, and on multiple occasions passed white stool,” according to the lawsuit.
As his son’s symptoms persisted, Al-Khaled took him to a hospital, where lab results indicated that he had very high levels of lead in his blood, at 15.3 micrograms per deciliter, approximately 5 times the healthy limit, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Schnucks Applesauce Recall Lawsuit
- Baby Food Toxic Metals Lawsuit
- Green Sprouts Sippy Cup Lead Exposure Lawsuit
See all related product liability lawsuits our attorneys covered so far.
Get a Free Weis Applesauce Evaluation With Our Lawyers
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 Weis 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.