WanaBana, Schnucks & Weis children’s applesauce pouches were INTENTIONALLY contaminated with lead, FDA says
12/26/2023 // Ethan Huff // Views

Children who ate cinnamon apple puree and applesauce from pouches manufactured by three American brands were reportedly sickened by the contents. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes the contamination was intentional.

Back in October, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported the first adverse events from the affected pouches in children as young as one year old. Since that time, the federal agency has launched an inspection at a plant in Ecuador where the cinnamon-flavored applesauce is produced.

The three companies in question include WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis, all of which produce apple fruit puree products for children. The three brands' products are sold nationwide at popular grocery chains, including at Dollar Tree, as well as online through Amazon.

"We're still in the midst of our investigation," commented Jim Jones, the FDA's deputy commissioner for human foods. "But so far, all of the signals we're getting lead to an intentional act on the part of someone in the supply chain and we're trying to ... figure that out."

According to Jones, the ongoing investigation has already led investigators to conclude that adulteration of the apple puree products with what appears to be lead may have been "an intentional act."

"My instinct is they didn't think this product was going to end up in a country with a robust regulatory process. They thought it was going to end up in places that did not have the ability to detect something like this."

(Related: HMC Farms recalled peaches and plums last month that were believed to be contaminated with listeria.)

Was the children's applesauce lead contamination intentional?

The latest update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) includes a total of 125 cases from 22 states that involve children who consumed the contaminated products in question and got sick from them.

The FDA says it believes the intentional contamination with lead was "economically motivated," meaning the companies involved allowed or even added lead on purpose to boost profits in some way, or perhaps to salvage otherwise contaminated product that should have been tossed.

"The FDA can confirm that one of the theories the agency is exploring is the potential that the cinnamon contamination occurred as a possible result of economically motivated adulteration," an FDA spokesperson told Consumer Reports.

When asked why the FDA allows contaminated products like this to enter the United States in the first place, Jones explained that intentional adulteration cases such as this are "always going to be tricky to absolutely stop."

"We have limited authority over foreign ingredient suppliers that do not directly ship product to the U.S. because their food undergoes further manufacturing / processing prior to export," the other FDA spokesperson is quoted as saying.

According to the CDC, there is "no safe blood lead level" for young children. The agency uses a marker of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) as an identifying threshold for children deemed to have elevated blood lead levels.

On Nov. 13, the CDC revealed the results of an investigation it conducted which found that 22 children who consumed lead-contaminated applesauce had blood lead levels as high as 29 mcg/dL, which is substantially higher than the CDC's marker of 3.5 mcg/dL.

"Lead is toxic to humans, and exposure at any age or health status can lead to serious symptoms," reported The Epoch Times. "In adults, high blood lead levels can increase their risk for high blood pressure, other cardiovascular effects, kidney problems, adverse reproductive outcomes and gout."

"Short-term exposure to lead could result in headaches, abdominal pain / colic, vomiting and anemia, while longer-term exposure could result in irritability, lethargy, fatigue, muscle aches or muscle prickling / burning, constipation, difficulty concentrating/muscular weakness, tremor and weight loss."

More related news can be found at Toxins.news.

Sources for this article include:



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