Two southwestern Idaho children had heightened lead levels in their blood after eating cinnamon applesauce packets that were recalled, state health officials announced this week.
The company that distributes the products recently recalled apple cinnamon sauce and pouches from WanaBana, Weis and Schnucks. Those products should be thrown away, federal regulators say – not eaten, sold or served.
The Idaho children affected live in Elmore and Ada counties, according to a news release from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The only recalled product available in Idaho is WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree, which are distributed nationally through Dollar Tree, Amazon and other online stores, the state health department said.
The Food and Drug Administration reports 57 adverse events across 26 states potentially linked to the recalled products as of Tuesday. Idaho’s cases were not included in the federal report. All federally reported adverse events linked to the recall are in children ages 5 and under.
Consumers who bought recalled products should carefully empty the containers into the trash, health officials say. All WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree Pouches – expired, or not – were voluntarily recalled by the company.
Federal officials found lead levels more than 200 higher than safe in one WanaBana puree sampled from Dollar Tree.
The FDA is still investigating how the products were contaminated and if any other products are linked to illnesses. The most likely cause is that cinnamon caused the higher lead levels, based on an investigation by the distributor for the recalled products, according to the FDA.
Other cinnamon-containing products or cinnamon are not reportedly linked with illnesses, federal regulators say. Products without cinnamon and not recalled by the three companies haven’t had high lead levels, the FDA says.
There’s no known safe lead levels for children, and exposure symptoms often take time to show up, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lead exposure in children is linked with serious long term health harms, like slowed growth and development, the CDC says.
People worried about lead exposure should call a medical provider or local public health agency to request evaluation and testing, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says.
People exposed to lead may, in the short term, develop a headache, abdominal pain or colic, vomiting and anemia, the FDA says. Common long term lead exposure symptoms are irritability, lethargy fatigue, muscle aches, occasional abdominal discomfort, constipation, difficulty concentrating, muscular exhaustibility, headache, tremor and weight loss.
Health officials in Georgia earlier this week announced that they were looking into whether the recalled products were associated with eight children having higher blood levels, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
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