There may be a potential danger lurking on your kitchen snack shelf that is often a favorite among kids and adults. It’s the apple sauce and puree pouches that are a regular snack given to kids as a supposedly “healthy” snack, between meals. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers that three brands of apple cinnamon applesauce/puree products have been recalled because of “elevated” lead levels. And the reported cases of children becoming ill is growing.

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How Serious Is This Outbreak Of Toxic Lead Poisoning? 

This toxic threat was first brought to attention when the FDA issued a safety alert on October 28, 2023. Along with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, an investigation was launched when four children were reported with elevated blood lead levels, indicating “potential acute lead toxicity.” 

 Wanabana LLC initiated a voluntary recall on October 31, 2023, of all WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree Pouches. On November 9, 2023, the recall was expanded to include Schnucks and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches. 

By November 13, 2023, 22 reports of illness potentially linked to the recalled product had been submitted to the FDA. The NCDHHS investigation identified WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree pouches as a potential shared source of exposure. Multiple lots of the fruit pouches were analyzed, detecting extremely high concentrations of lead. As of November 13, 2023, The CDC reports lead toxicity, in children 1 to 3 years, was reported in at least fourteen states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

These Products May Pose A Toxic Lead Hazard 

The FDA has issued a warning on toxic apple sauce.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

What Applesauce Products Are Being Recalled? 

The FDA says that the three recalled products are WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree, Schnuck-brand cinnamon flavored applesauce pouches & variety packs, and Weis-brand cinnamon applesauce pouches. 

What Stores Are Affected? 

According to the FDA, the fruit puree pouches are sold nationally and are available through multiple retailers including Amazon, Dollar Tree, and other online outlets. Forbes added Sam’s Club to the list, and the recall covers products regardless of the expiration date. 

Lead Toxicity Symptoms 

  • Headache 
  • Abdominal pain/Colic 
  • Vomiting 
  • Anemia 

Longer-term exposure could result in additional symptoms: 

  • Irritability 
  • Lethargy 
  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle aches or muscle prickling/burning 
  • Occasional abdominal discomfort 
  • Constipation 
  • Difficulty concentrating/Muscular exhaustibility 
  • Headache 
  • Tremor 
  • Weight loss 

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