There’s 2000 Times the Acceptable Level of Lead in Some Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches

There’s 2000 Times the Acceptable Level of Lead in Some Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches The ongoing recall of cinnamon applesauce pouches sold under the brand names WanaBana, Schnucks, and Weis triggered an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to its most recent report, the lead levels in these pouches is more than 2000 times what an acceptable level of lead would be.

According to CNN Health:

During a recent FDA inspection of an Austrofood facility in Ecuador, investigators took samples of cinnamon that were supplied by another company, Negasmart. The samples had “extremely high levels of lead contamination, 5110 parts per million (ppm) and 2270 ppm,” the agency said in an update Monday. “For context, the international standard-setting body, Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) is considering adopting a maximum level of 2.5 ppm for lead in bark spices, including cinnamon, in 2024.”

As of this writing, “there have been at least 69 reports of illnesses – all in children under 6 – linked to pouches” across 33 states, but there have been 205 reports in total.

Before we get to why there’s such a thing as an “acceptable level of lead” in ANYTHING, we want to urge parents to take their children for lead testing ASAP if your child has eaten any applesauce from these pouches. It is critically important.

The FDA is investigating whether this was an intentional act

As part of the FDA’s inspection of the Austrofood facility, agents also took samples of other products there; nothing else was contaminated. So far, the dangerous cinnamon hasn’t been detected in any other food shipped to America. It seems to be limited solely to these applesauce pouches.

As such, one FDA inspector has expressed concern that the contamination of the cinnamon was “an intentional act on the part of someone in the supply chain.”

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How do spices get contaminated with lead in the first place?

Lead is a naturally occurring element; without it, we wouldn’t have oxygen. The problem is that lead is extremely difficult to get rid of, so once its in the soil, you really only have two options:

  • You can undergo timely (and potentially expensive) remediation and abatement processes, or
  • You can cover it up with more soil and hope you buried it far enough underground that it won’t harm you.

If there’s an excessive amount of lead in your soil, then it will be absorbed by the plants that grow in it, and it will contaminate the groundwater. Contaminated groundwater can make its way to other parts of the land, carrying the lead into the soil – and the cycle continues. Dumping lead-based products and other toxic waste can exacerbate the issue.

This is part of why there’s a standard for an “acceptable level of lead” – it’s virtually impossible to avoid it entirely. Under the new guidance from the FDA, the acceptable levels of lead in food designed for children ages two and younger are:

  • 10 parts per billion (ppb) for fruits, vegetables (excluding single-ingredient root vegetables), mixtures (including grain and meat-based mixtures), yogurts, custards/puddings and single-ingredient meats.
  • 20 ppb for root vegetables (single ingredient).
  • 20 ppb for dry cereals.

Note that we don’t say a safe level of lead; there is no such thing as a “safe” lead level.

What happens if your child ingested lead through contaminated applesauce?

If your child ate the contaminated applesauce, you need to get him or her tested. We cannot stress enough the importance of this test. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead poisoning can have life-long effects. It can cause brain damage and damage to the nervous system. It can affect your child’s physical growth and development as much as it can affect their cognitive abilities. What we need you to understand, though, is that whatever damage the lead caused cannot be reversed. It will be permanent. Because pediatric injuries tend to compound over time, any damage that is done can become worse as your child ages.

If your child’s blood is tested and the tests confirm lead, then your doctor may recommend something called chelation therapy, which can remove heavy metals from your blood. (This procedure comes with risks, too, and some doctors may feel those risks outweigh the potential benefits for small children.)

Your legal rights in Alabama

We know this is beyond scary for parents. You probably had a dream in your head of what your child’s life could or would be. You may have imagined their first school dance, the first time they drove a car, their going off to college. You nurtured this little life: made sure his socks were clean or her hair was braided, or that their favorite toys were tucked into bed with them.

We have families. We understand.

We also have 25+ years of litigation experience holding companies accountable when their products cause irreparable harm to others. We have a record of recovering millions of dollars on behalf of the injured throughout Alabama. We have the resources necessary to take on major corporations and businesses.

You have legal options if your child suffers permanent brain damage or physical injury after eating contaminated cinnamon applesauce pouches; let us help you. We’re already working with clients on these cases, so we know what you’re up against. Call or contact Martin & Helms in Huntsville or Decatur today so we can get started on a plan forward, together. Proudly serving Athens, Madison, and all of North Alabama.