FDA Inspects Plant that Produced Tainted Applesauce Pouches

The agency thinks the cinnamon in the product is the cause.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

December 7, 2023

2 Min Read
FDA inspecting tainted applesauce plant
The applesauce was first recalled at the end of October. Image courtesy of US Food and Drug Administration

The US Food and Drug Administration recall over applesauce pouches started more than a month ago. At least 64 children from 27 states have reported illnesses related to lead poisoning potentially linked to the products.

The FDA is now inspecting the plant in Ecuador that made the fruit pouches. According to the agency, contaminated cinnamon is the likely source of the lead.

An FDA team is collecting samples from the Austrofood plant that shipped the now recalled applesauce pouches sold widely at Dollar Tree and other stores across the US.

The agency said health officials in Ecuador found that cinnamon from Austrofood's supplier had higher levels of lead than the country allows. The company, Negasmart, is facing sanctions while officials there track down the source of the cinnamon, the FDA reported.

Today, these products are recalled:

  • WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches are sold nationally and are available through multiple retailers including Amazon, Dollar Tree, and other online outlets.

  • Schnucks cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety pack sold at Schnucks and Eatwell Markets grocery stores.

  • Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches sold at Weis grocery stores.

The pouches were recalled after officials in North Carolina first reported cases of young children who posted high blood lead levels after eating pouches found to contain extremely high levels of lead.

Four illnesses were reported at the time of the recall, leading North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to investigate and sample the pouches. North Carolina’s analyses came back with elevated concentrations of lead which could result in acute toxicity.

A law firm in North Carolina stated last month that it plans to sue Wanabana for the high levels of lead, which lead to many children getting sick and going to the hospital.

With the long shelf life of pouched applesauce, consumers and retailers alike need to verify they are not on grocery or home shelves. And if so, discard.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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