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The FDA expands the recall of apple cinnamon fruit pouches over lead concerns

An image provided by the Food and Drug Administration shows the three recalled products: WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree pouches,  Schnucks cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety pack and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches.
Food and Drug Administration
An image provided by the Food and Drug Administration shows the three recalled products: WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree pouches, Schnucks cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety pack and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches.

Updated November 6, 2023 at 1:01 PM ET

The Food and Drug Administration urged parents and caregivers late last month not to feed WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches to children because they may contain high levels of lead, which can be particularly harmful to kids.

Now the agency is expanding its warning, saying the recall has grown to include products from two other brands: certain Schnucks cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety packs and certain Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches.

The FDA said it is looking into additional reports of illnesses and investigating whether any other products may be affected.

The discovery of high lead levels in WanaBana pouches came out of an investigation by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services into elevated lead levels in four children living in the state.

Investigators identified the WanaBana puree pouches as a "potential shared source of exposure." The state then tested multiple lots of the product and found that they contained "extremely high concentrations of lead."

The FDA now says it has reports of seven "adverse events" from October 17 through November 1.

WanaBana puree pouches — regardless of their expiration date — are now the subject of a voluntary recall by the company, which had sold them online and in person through retailers such as Amazon and Dollar Tree.

"The company is committed to ensuring the safety of its products and the well-being of its consumers," WanaBana said in a press release.

Schnucks said any customers who purchased either of its products included in the FDA's warning "are urged to stop using it immediately." In a notice posted to its website, the Missouri-based grocery chain said affected products can be returned for a full refund.

Weis officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Children who have eaten the fruit pouches should get a blood test through their healthcare provider, the FDA suggested in a public health alert.

WanaBana USA said it was working to determine the source of the lead contamination, and urged consumers to stop using the products and return them to the original place of purchase for a full refund.

The company did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment.

Children under age 6 are especially vulnerable to lead exposure, because their bodies are still developing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lead exposure can slow development, damage the brain and nervous system and cause health and behavioral problems.

Though lead exposure can be hard to see, the FDA says symptoms from short-term exposure can include headaches, vomiting, abdominal pain and anemia, while longer-term lead exposure may lead to irritability, fatigue, muscle aches, difficulty concentrating and more.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: November 5, 2023 at 8:00 PM AKST
A previous version of this story, citing the FDA, said the affected products were sold at retailers such as Sam's Club. The FDA now says Sam's Club did not sell the products.