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Lead Found in Toddler Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches

Posted in Our Blog on March 23, 2024

Every day, millions of American consumers purchase food for their toddlers at box stores, grocery or market stores, dollar stores, and so on. And we, as consumers, without thought, trust the product, the product’s manufacturer, and the product’s labeling. But do we really know where the food source comes from? Or what is really in our children’s store-bought, prepared foods we buy in our neighborhood stores and marketplaces? Recently we learned that lead was found in toddler Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches. Here’s more:

Lead Found in Toddler Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed in a news release last week that an unregulated Ecuadorian spice dealer’s cinnamon sticks used in children’s cinnamon applesauce puree pouches did contain toxic levels of lead chromate. This caused the additional FDA warning to U.S. consumers about feeding the recalled brands -WanaBana, Schnucks, and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches sold in the United States to children.

These tainted cinnamon sticks were used as a spice additive in making the readymade toddler puree food pouches in Ecuador at a manufacturing plant and then exported to the U.S. company WanaBana L.L.C. for distribution.

The FDA first announced an advisory for consumers not to purchase or feed WanaBana cinnamon applesauce fruit puree pouches to toddlers or young children because the product pouches may contain elevated levels of lead.

North Carolina Investigates First Lead Poison Cases

This announcement followed an 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.

The North Carolina Department of Human Services first identified the WanaBana cinnamon applesauce fruit puree pouches as a source of exposure in several cases of elevated blood lead levels that were showing up in western North Carolina. North Carolina officials evaluated multiple lots of the WanaBana product. They determined that elevated levels of lead were present in the pouches.

FDA Alerts Consumers of Possible Recall

After being notified, the FDA began alerting consumers not to buy or eat cinnamon applesauce puree pouch products sold under the names WanaBana, Schnucks and Weise. This alert prompted WanaBana L.L.C. to voluntarily recall these products from store shelves weeks later, in November 2023.

Stores selling the WanaBana L.L.C. cinnamon applesauce products included known retailers – Amazon, Sam’s Clubs, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar/Dollar Tree combination stores. Schnucks and Weise brands are sold exclusively as store brand labels in Schnucks and Weise grocery stores.

FDA officials who assessed multiple lots of the familiar toddler food puree pouches found high concentrations of lead chromate. According to FDA records, The pouches in question were initially produced by Austrofoods in Ecuador, then exported to the United States and sold by WanaBana L.L.C.

The Ecuadorian company Austrofoods used cinnamon from the Ecuadorian spice dealer Negasmart, whose cinnamon spice sticks were found to be tainted with lead chromate and the source of the contamination of the food puree pouches.

In December 2023, the FDA announced more findings that suspected the lead-to-lead chromium ratio in the cinnamon applesauce puree samples contained elevated lead levels. In foreign countries, lead chromate artificially bolsters spices’ color and weight. In these foreign countries, spices are valued by color and weight.

Last week, the FDA officials stated the cinnamon collected from the Austrofoods additive was no doubt the source of contamination. Ecuadorian officials have informed the FDA that the cinnamon spice dealer is no longer in business.

However, the FDA has limited authority over these foreign spice dealers or suppliers because they do not trade directly with the U.S.

The FDA did state this type of contamination is usually more economically motivated than sinister. But for U.S. children and consumers, the risk is real.

Over 450 Cases Are Being Investigated Nationwide

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest report concerning the contaminated WanaBana cinnamon applesauce puree pouches informs that over 450 individual cases are being followed in 44 states across America. The CDC continues to urge consumers to discontinue use of these products. Consumers should immediately throw them away or return them to retailers or stores.

What the CDC Says Consumers Can Do Now?

First, do not eat the recalled cinnamon applesauce puree pouch products included in the FDA recall announcements.

Talk to your healthcare provider about getting a blood lead test if your child or someone you know has eaten any recalled cinnamon applesauce fruit puree pouch products.

Symptoms of Lead Exposure in Children?

Consumers need to know children with lead exposure may have no apparent visual symptoms.

According to the FDA, lead poison exposure in children less than six years of age can be seriously harmful because young children’s bodies are still growing and rapidly developing.

The CDC reports even low levels of lead ingested by young children can cause children health problems over time, such as learning and behavior issues, hearing and speech concerns, lower I.Q.s, attention deficit and underperformance in school, and slow growth and development.

More noticeable symptoms in children exposed to copious amounts of lead poison can show signs of:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Anemia
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures

Millions of Children Can be Affected

WanaBana officials estimated that over 1.7 million units of these cinnamon applesauce fruit purees have been sold in 3-pack pouches of 2.5 oz. each affected by this recall according to WanaBana L.L.C.

Additional Resources

For a complete list of WanaBana recall numbers, visit the


And product photos can be found at

For additional information and questions concerning this recall, consumers can also contact the company at

By: Cindy Lockstone (contributing writer, non-lawyer)