FDA: Cinnamon may be the source of lead in recalled fruit puree products
As the investigation into high levels of lead in fruit puree pouches that have now sickened 34 children continues, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found evidence that cinnamon may be the source.
The agency, in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been investigating illnesses linked to the consumption of Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree pouches made in Ecuador and sold under the WanaBana, Weis, and Schnucks brands. All of these products have already been recalled.
In its updated alert, the FDA said health officials have detected very high levels of lead in one product sample of WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Puree collected from Dollar Tree. The level detected was 2.18 parts per million, which is more than 200 times greater than the action level the FDA has proposed in draft guidance for fruit purees and similar products intended for babies and young children.
So far, sample analysis of WanaBana, Weis, and Schnucks fruit puree pouches that do not contain cinnamon and are not part of the recall have not shown elevated levels of lead.
The agency said its leading hypothesis is now that the cinnamon used in the recalled pouches is the likely source of contamination, but the agency has not yet been able to collect and test samples of the cinnamon used in the recalled products. The FDA added that it is working with Ecuadorian authorities to pinpoint the source of the cinnamon, while also screening incoming shipments of cinnamon from multiple countries for lead contamination.
In its initial alert on the recall issued in late October, the FDA said four children in North Carolina were the first to be found to have high levels of lead in their blood that was linked to the WanaBana products.
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