April 11, 2024

FDA Updates WanaBana Lead Poisoning Outbreak Investigation

The FDA has updated the WanaBana lead poisoning outbreak investigation. The FDA has finished conducting an onsite inspection of the Austrofoods facility in Ecuador, where the products were made.

FDA Updates WanaBana Lead Poisoning Outbreak Investigation

At least 64 people, all children under the age of six, have been sickened with lead poisoning after allegedly eating Wanabana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree. The patient case count by state is: Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), California (1), Connecticut (1), Florida (1), Georgia (2), Iowa (1), Illinois (3), Kentucky (3), Louisiana (4), Massachusetts (3), Maryland (6), Michigan (3), Missouri (1), North Carolina (5), Nebraska (2), New Hampshire (1), New Mexico (1), New York (8), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (1), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (1), Texas (3), Virginia (2), Washington (3), and Wisconsin (1). The report date ranges are from October 17, 2023 through December 8, 2023.

The FDA collected samples of cinnamon that were grown in Ecuador and supplied by Negasmart to Austrofoods. Testing showed extremely high levels of lead contamination, of 5110 parts per million and 2270 parts per million. For a frame of reference, the Codex Alimentarius Commission is considering a maximum level of 2.5 parts per million for lead in bark spices.

The FDA has tested many products and has found that no further products should be added to the recall at this time. At least 136 samples of non-cinnamon containing products have been tested. They were all negative for elevated lead.

The FDA says that Ecuadorain officials report that Negasmart does not ship product outside Ecuador. In their testing so far, the raw or unprocessed cinnamon from cinnamon importers in Ecuador do not appear to be contaminated with lead, but the ground or powdered cinnamon from Negasmart is contaminated.

News outlets are reporting that the lead contamination may have been intentional. That may be one of the FDA’s current theories about this issue. Some lead-based dyes may be added to spices to enhance their color.

WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree, Schnucks Cinnamon Applesauce, and Weis Cinnamon Applesauce have all been recalled.

If you purchased any of these recalled products, discard them immediately. You should open the pouches and remove the applesauce so people can’t scavenge the product for resale. If your child ate these products, talk to your doctor about having them tested for lead poisoning.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If your child has been sickened with lead poisoning after eating WanaBana cinnamon fruit puree, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors.

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