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Recalled applesauce pouches still on some store shelves, FDA says, as more illnesses reported

By Katherine Dillinger, CNN

(CNN) — Cinnamon applesauce pouches that have been recalled after reports of high blood lead levels in children are still on the shelves at some Dollar Tree stores, the US Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.

Cinnamon applesauce pouches sold under the WanaBana, Weis and Schnucks brands have been recalled, and the FDA is screening shipments of cinnamon from multiple countries for possible lead contamination. The agency says that it’s working with Dollar Tree on getting those products off shelves but that, in the meantime, consumers should not buy them.

The FDA, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local partners have been investigating reports of high blood lead levels in children who consumed the pouches, which were manufactured in Ecuador. There have been 52 reports of illness among children under age 4 in 25 states as of Wednesday.

In one product sample of a WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Puree from Dollar Tree, the level detected was 2.18 parts per million, the FDA said — more than 200 times greater than the action level the FDA had proposed in previous draft guidance for products intended for babies and young children.

“In response to WanaBana’s Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree pouch voluntary recall announcement, Dollar Tree locked its registers to prevent sales and instructed stores to remove the product from the shelves,” the company told CNN on Wednesday. “We are committed to the safety and integrity of the products we sell. If customers have this recalled product, they are advised to stop using it immediately and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.”

Recalled products should be discarded by opening the pouches and emptying them into the trash before throwing away the packaging, the FDA says, to keep anyone from taking them out of the trash and consuming them.

Lead is toxic to humans, and there is no safe level. Exposure is not typically apparent right away, but it can cause developmental delays in children. Initial symptoms of lead poisoning may include head, stomach and muscle aches, vomiting, anemia, irritability, fatigue and weight loss.

CNN’s Meg Tirrell, Jamie Gumbrecht and Jen Christensen contributed to this report.

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