December 3, 2023

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned people to avoid several brands of applesauce pouches designed for children and toddlers over lead-poisoning concerns.

The FDA warned parents in October to avoid purchasing and feeding children WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches due to “elevated levels of lead.”

On Saturday, the agency added two more brands—Schnucks and Weis—to the recall.

“Check your pantry. Consumers should not eat, sell, or serve recalled WanaBana, Schnucks, and Weis brand apple cinnamon pouches and should discard them,” the FDA said in a post on Instagram.

The FDA, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are investigating reports of four children with elevated levels of lead in their blood, indicating “potential acute lead toxicity,” the agency said in an advisory.

Investigators identified WanaBana applesauce pouches as a potential shared source of exposure and found “extremely high concentrations of lead” in the products. After the results were shared with WanaBana, the company agreed to recall the pouches which are sold at retailers including Sam’s Club and Dollar Tree, and online retailers including Amazon.

FDA recall
Images (left to right) of the recalled WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis products. The FDA said people should not eat, sell, or serve the applesauce pouches.

All WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches are being recalled, while Schnucks cinnamon applesauce pouches with UPC codes 4131801152 and 4131801155 are also being withdrawn from the shelves, along with the brand’s 20-pouch variety pack with UPC code 4131801157. Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches with UPC code 041497216123 are also being recalled.

The FDA said it had received additional reports of illnesses and is working to evaluate them, the advisory said.

The administration’s probe “is ongoing to determine the source of lead contamination and whether additional products are linked to illnesses,” it added.

“Lead is toxic to humans and can affect people of any age or health status. Protecting children from exposure to lead is particularly important because they are more susceptible to lead toxicity.”

The FDA has been contacted for comment via email.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “no safe blood lead level” has been identified for children and even low levels of lead in blood can seriously harm a child’s health. Most children have no obvious immediate symptoms of lead exposure.

The FDA said parents and caretakers should contact a healthcare provider about getting a blood test if they suspect a child may have been exposed to lead.

Short-term symptoms of lead poisoning include headaches, abdominal pain/colic, vomiting and anemia. Longer-term exposure could result in irritability, lethargy, fatigue, muscle aches or muscle prickling/burning, constipation, difficulty concentrating, tremors and weight loss.