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FDA Warns of Elevated Lead Levels in WanaBana Applesauce Pouches

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an alert warning parents of elevated lead levels in WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches. The FDA’s alert also applies to Schnucks and Weis brand cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches. Due to the risks of lead consumption, the FDA advises against selling, eating or serving these products at this time.

All three brands of applesauce pouches are owned by WanaBana USA. The company issued a voluntary recall on November 9, 2023, “due to reports of elevated levels of lead found in certain units of the product.” As the recall notice goes on to explain:

“Protecting children from exposure to lead is important to lifelong good health. Lead exposure in children is often difficult to see. Most children have no obvious immediate symptoms. If you suspect that your child might have consumed this product, parents should talk to your child’s healthcare provider about getting a blood lead test. Lead poisoning can only be diagnosed through clinical testing.”

As of December 15, 2023, the CDC had received 205 reports of cases being investigated by state and local health departments.  As of December 19, 2023, the FDA had received 69 complaints/reports of adverse events potentially linked to the recalled applesauce; the injured were all under 6 years of age.

As a result, parents whose children have consumed WanaBana applesauce pouches should monitor their children for symptoms, and they should take their children to their doctor’s office promptly if they have any concerns. As listed by the FDA, early symptoms of lead toxicity can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anemia
  • Colic
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting

Understanding the Long-Term Risks of Lead Toxicity in Children

While these symptoms of short-term lead toxicity will generally go away once a child is no longer exposed to lead, children can experience long-term complications in some cases. The longer a child is exposed to lead—whether from WanaBana applesauce pouches or other sources—the greater the chances that the child will experience additional effects. These effects can include:

  • Constipation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Muscular weakness
  • Tremors
  • Weight loss

For young children, lead toxicity can also have developmental effects. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to negatively affect a child’s intelligence, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement.” As the CDC goes on to explain, “[e]xposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health and cause well-documented adverse effects,” including damage to the brain and nervous system, delayed development, learning and behavioral problems, and hearing and speech disorders.

The primary risks associated with lead consumption have to do with lead entering the child’s bloodstream. The level of lead in a child’s blood begins to decrease once the child is no longer exposed. However, as the CDC notes, while the level of lead in the body will decrease through expulsion through bowel movements, bladder movements and sweating, “[l]ead is also stored in bones . . . [and i]t can take decades for lead stored in the bones to decrease.”

Government analyses of WanaBana applesauce pouches have detected “extremely high” concentrations of lead, which the FDA confirms could result in “acute toxicity.” When the FDA tested a sample pouch, it detected lead at a level of 2.18 parts per million. As the FDA explains, this is “more than 200 times greater than the action level the FDA has proposed in draft guidance for fruit purees and similar products intended for babies and young children.”

Acute lead toxicity presents risks for serious health implications—particularly among children. As a result, exposure to lead through WanaBana applesauce pouches is a serious concern. Parents should heed the FDA’s warnings, and, again, they should seek advice from their doctors if they have any concerns about their children’s physical or cognitive wellbeing.

WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis Applesauce Pouches Subject to Recall

To be clear, not all WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis applesauce pouches are subject to recalls—at least not yet. As a result, if your child has consumed applesauce pouches from one of these brands, this does not necessarily mean that your child has been exposed to lead. However, lead exposure is a possibility, and due to the level of concern associated with lead toxicity in children, all parents should exercise caution and monitor for symptoms going forward. According to WanaBana USA’s recall notice, the products that have been recalled as of November 9, 2023, are:

  • WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree in 3-pack pouches of 2.5 oz
  • Schnucks Apple Sauce 90g pouches with cinnamon in lots 05023:19, 09023:22 and 09023:24
  • Weis Cinnamon Apple Sauce 90g in lot 05023:28

Parents and others who have purchased these products should not feed them to their children. While the FDA advises either discarding them or returning them for a refund, parents should keep these products in a safe place out of their children’s reach for the time being. Those who have provided these products to their children should also keep the packaging, if possible—as they may be entitled to financial compensation.

What Can Parents Do if Their Children Have Been Exposed to Lead?

Due to the substantial risks and costs of lead toxicity in children, there is currently a class action lawsuit pending against WanaBana USA. WanaBana recall attorney Jack Scarola of Searcy Denney is serving as co-counsel in the litigation. If your child has been diagnosed with lead toxicity or any other type of Wanabana lead poisoning injury after consuming WanaBana, Schnucks or Weis brand applesauce pouches, you should speak with an attorney about your family’s legal rights.

Since the concerns with WanaBana USA’s applesauce pouches have only recently been uncovered, all families still have time to file their claims. When you speak with an attorney at Searcy Denney, your attorney will help you decide whether it makes sense for you to join the pending class action lawsuit. All families affected by WanaBana USA’s lead-contaminated applesauce pouches deserve to be fairly compensated, and speaking with an attorney is the first step toward making sure you and your family receive the financial compensation you deserve.

Discuss Your Legal Rights with a WanaBana Recall Attorney at Search Denney

If you would like to know more about joining the class action lawsuit against WanaBana USA, please contact us to arrange a free initial consultation at Searcy Denney. To speak with a WanaBana recall attorney about your family’s legal rights as soon as possible, call 800-780-8607 or tell us how we can get in touch online today.

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