At least 52 children have been diagnosed with lead poisoning across 25 states between mid-October and late November, according to the FDA outbreak update on November 22.
A sample of cinnamon-flavored applesauce from Dollar Tree also tested positive for lead levels that were more than 200 times higher than what the FDA considers safe for children, according to the update.
Most of the victims were between 1 and 4 years of age, which is the most popular age group for applesauce pouches and fruit purees.
The outbreak was traced to cinnamon-flavored applesauce after a family said they searched for months to find out what was causing their son to have high levels of lead in his bloodstream.
The boy had up to 22.5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. The parents wrote, “My son ate Apple Cinnamon WanaBana fruit puree pouches as a regular part of his diet (4-6 pouches a day) from May 2023 through August 2023.”
The boy is now in treatment for lead poisoning. His parents said they are now “extremely concerned about future developmental delays and behavioral issues resulting from this exposure,” according to the FDA.
Health officials are now testing imports of cinnamon to check for lead contamination.
The recalled applesauce pouches were manufactured in Ecuador and sold nationwide in the U.S. under the brand-names WanaBana®, Schnucks®, and Weis®, according to the recall notices posted by the FDA in early November.