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FDA warns parents to test children after lead found in WanaBana fruit puree pouches

Posted at 6:10 PM, Oct 29, 2023

The US Food and Drug Administration is warning parents against buying a brand of fruit puree pouches for their children after the snacks were found to have high levels of lead, the agency said.

Lead was found in WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches, which are sold nationally at multiple retailers, including Sam’s Club, Amazon and Dollar Tree, the FDA said.

“Parents and caregivers of toddlers and young children who may have consumed WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches should contact their child’s healthcare provider about getting a blood test,” the FDA said.

The FDA is warning parents against buying and feeding their children WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches.

Lead is toxic to humans and exposure to the substance can lead to developmental delays in children. Symptoms of lead exposure include headaches, abdominal pain, vomiting, anemia, muscle aches, irritability and fatigue, the agency said.

The issue came to light when North Carolina state health officials began investigating four children with elevated blood lead levels and found that the WanaBana pouches could be the common source of exposure, the FDA said.

Multiple lots of WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree were analyzed and North Carolina officials found “extremely high concentrations of lead,” the FDA said.

The company has agreed to voluntarily recall all WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches, regardless of expiration, the FDA added.

“If you have WanaBana brand apple cinnamon puree products in your home, do not eat them or feed them to your children. Dispose of the products immediately,” the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said.

CNN has reached out to WanaBana for comment.

Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health and cause damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, as well as learning, hearing, speech and behavior problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

“Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to negatively affect a child’s intelligence, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement,” the CDC said.

Lead can be found throughout a child’s environment, including in homes built before lead-based paints were banned in 1978, according to the CDC. The metal can also be in some toys and jewelry.

How a child’s body handles exposure to lead varies based on their age, length of exposure and other factors, the CDC says. A blood lead test is the best way to assess a child’s exposure to lead, the center adds.

“The FDA is continuing to work with state officials and the firm, collecting additional information, and taking steps to remove all contaminated product from the market,” the agency added.