FDA warns that WanaBana fruit pouches contain high lead levels, endangering children

The Food and Drug Administration is urging parents and caregivers not to feed WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches to children because they may contain high levels of lead, which can be particularly harmful to kids.

The puree pouches — regardless of their expiration date — are now the subject of a voluntary recall by WanaBana, which had sold them online and in person through retailers such as Sam’s Club, Amazon and Dollar Tree.

“The company is committed to ensuring the safety of its products and the well-being of its consumers,” WanaBana said in a press release.

Children who have eaten the fruit pouches should get a blood test through their healthcare provider, the FDA suggested in a public health alert.

The discovery of high lead levels in the pouches came out of an investigation by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services into elevated lead levels in four children living in the state.

Investigators identified the WanaBana puree pouches as a “potential shared source of exposure.” The state then tested multiple lots of the product and found that they contained “extremely high concentrations of lead.”

WanaBana USA said it was working to determine the source of the lead contamination, and urged consumers to stop using the products and return them to the original place of purchase for a full refund.

The company did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment.

Children under age 6 are especially vulnerable to lead exposure, because their bodies are still developing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lead exposure can slow development, damage the brain and nervous system and cause health and behavioral problems.

Though lead exposure can be hard to see, the FDA says symptoms from short-term exposure can include headaches, vomiting, abdominal pain and anemia, while longer-term lead exposure may lead to irritability, fatigue, muscle aches, difficulty concentrating and more.

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  • October 31, 2023
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