The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today released an advisory for consumers not to buy or feed WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches to toddlers and young children because the product may contain elevated levels of lead. This announcement comes after a joint investigation by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, local health departments, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and the FDA.
NCDHHS identified WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches as a potential shared source of exposure following several cases of elevated blood lead levels in children in the western part of the state. As part of the investigation, NCDHHS analyzed multiple lots of the product, detecting extremely high concentrations of lead. The FDA has reviewed and supports NCDHHS’ findings and issued a voluntary recall of all WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches regardless of lot code or expiration. WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches are sold nationally and are available through multiple retailers including Sam’s Club, Amazon and Dollar Tree. WanaBana has also agreed to voluntarily recall all apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches regardless of expiration.
In North Carolina, all blood lead test results for children under the age of 6 are reportable to NCDHHS by N.C. General Statute 130A-131.8. A child under six who has two consecutive blood lead test results greater than or equal to 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dl) is considered to have an elevated lead level and is eligible for a home investigation by NCDHHS and local health department staff to identify the source of the lead hazard. At the same time, the child’s health care provider is also notified to monitor their blood lead level to ensure the child’s levels decrease below the CDC reference value of 3.5 µg/dLonce the identified source is removed. It was during several such investigations that the WanaBana brand of apple cinnamon puree pouches was identified as the likely source of lead hazard.
Lead exposure may cause behavioral, developmental and health problems even at low levels in the blood. Because children under age 6 are undergoing critical neurological and physical development, they are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of lead on the body.
NCDHHS recommends the following for consumers concerned about this report:
- If you have WanaBana brand apple cinnamon puree products in your home, do not eat them or feed them to your children. Dispose of the products immediately.
- Discuss blood lead testing with your medical provider if you are concerned about your child. NCDHHS recommends all children be tested for lead during their well-child visit at age 1 and again at age 2, when hand-to-mouth behavior is highest.
- Choose foods or spices with detailed product labels that allow the products to be traced in the event of a recall or other evidence of contamination.
- Sign up for FDA recall alerts and Consumer Product Safety Commission recall alerts for heavy metals.
To report a complaint or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction), you can
- Call an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator if you wish to speak directly to a person about your problem.
- Complete an electronic Voluntary MedWatch form online.
- Complete a paper Voluntary MedWatch form that can be mailed to FDA.
- Visit www.fda.gov/fcic for additional consumer and industry assistance.
For more information and resources on child lead poisoning, please visit https://ehs.dph.ncdhhs.gov/hhccehb/cehu.