Ga. public health investigates possible lead poisoning cases from applesauce

No cases have been confirmed in Georgia, but tainted product was distributed here

The Georgia Department of Public Health said Wednesday it is investigating several potential cases of high blood lead levels in children around the state who may have eaten recalled cinnamon applesauce pouch products.

U.S. health officials are warning doctors to be on the lookout for possible cases of lead poisoning in children who ate tainted pouches of cinnamon apple puree and applesauce.

While DPH officials said there are no confirmed cases in Georgia, there have been 22 cases of children 1-3 years old in 14 states with high blood lead levels linked to the recalled products.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least one child showed a blood lead level eight times higher than the level that raises concern. The illnesses are linked to recalled WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches, which have all been recalled.

The recall is for certain lots of the following products:

· WanaBana brand apple cinnamon fruit purée pouches (sold nationally)

· Schnucks brand cinnamon applesauce pouches (sold in Midwest states)

· Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches (sold in Mid-Atlantic states)

The WanaBana brands are sold nationally at Dollar Tree, Amazon, and several other online retailers. The recalled cinnamon applesauce pouch products should not be eaten.

These products have a long shelf life, so consumers are urged to check their cupboards and pantries for products purchased weeks or months ago. The products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Additional information about the recalled products can be found on the FDA’s website: Investigation of Elevated Lead Levels: Applesauce Pouches (November 2023).

The reported symptoms included headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a change in activity level and anemia.

Parents and caregivers of children who may have consumed recalled products should contact the child’s healthcare provider about getting a blood test for lead.

There’s no safe level of lead exposure, but the CDC uses a marker of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children with higher levels than most. The affected children’s blood lead levels ranged from 4 to 29 micrograms per deciliter.

Lead exposure can lead to serious learning and behavior problems. Heavy metals like lead can get into food products from soil, air, water or industrial processes, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The CDC said there were cases in the following states as of Nov. 7: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report