RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Recalled fruit puree pouches may be to blame for elevated blood lead levels among some North Carolina children, state officials announced Saturday.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released an advisory warning consumers not to buy or give WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches to toddlers and young children because the product may contain elevated levels of lead.
The WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches, pictured below, are sold nationally at several retailers, including Sam’s Club, Amazon, and Dollar Tree.
The announcement came after an investigation by the FDA, North Carolina health officials, local health departments, and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“As part of the investigation, NCDHHS analyzed multiple lots of the product, detecting extremely high concentrations of lead,” the news release from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said.
In North Carolina, all blood lead test results for children under the age of 6 are reportable under law to the state’s health department.
A child under six who has two consecutive blood lead test results greater than or equal to 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dl) — the CDC’s reference value is 3.5 µg/dL — is considered to have an elevated lead level and is eligible for a home investigation by the North Carolina health officials to identify the source of the lead hazard, the news release said.
During several such investigations recently, authorities determined the WanaBana brand of apple cinnamon puree pouches was a likely source of lead hazard.
Lead can affect anyone, regardless of age or health, the FDA explains. Lead can only be diagnosed through testing, and while most children do not have any obvious, immediate symptoms, there are some you can watch for, according to the FDA.
That includes headache, abdominal pain or colic, vomiting, and anemia after short-term exposure, and long-term exposure symptoms like irritability, lethargy, fatigue, muscle aches, constipation, tremors, weight loss, difficulty concentrating, and occasional abdominal discomfort.
WanaBana has also agreed to voluntarily recall all apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches regardless of expiration, the FDA said.
Nexstar has reached out to WanaBana for comment.
If you have any WanaBana brand apple cinnamon puree products in your home, health officials advise against eating them or feeding any to your children. Instead, dispose of it immediately.
If you are concerned that you or your child was exposed to lead, contact your healthcare provider. North Carolina health officials recommend all children be tested for lead during their well-child visit at age 1 and again at age 2, when hand-to-mouth behavior is highest.