Submitted by the Niagara County Department of Health
The Niagara County Department of Health announced it is working with state and federal officials to investigate high lead levels in the blood of a Niagara County child who consumed applesauce that is sold locally and was the subject of a recent product recall by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“Our investigation is ongoing,” Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton said. “We are coordinating with the child’s health care provider and in the process of determining all potential sources of exposure.”
The Niagara County investigation follows the Oct. 28 advisory issued by the FDA regarding applesauce pouches containing high levels of lead.
The FDA investigation is ongoing, and recalls of several apple puree and applesauce products were initiated after four children were found to have high blood lead levels, indicating potential acute lead toxicity.
Currently, recalls are in effect for all lot codes and expiration dates of these products:
√ Weis Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches (i.e., specific lots of UPC 041497216123)
√ WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree Pouches
The WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Purée Pouches were sold and distributed by multiple retailers in New York state, including Dollar Tree, Sam’s Club, Target, Walmart and Whole Foods. They are also available for purchase through online retailers like Amazon.
•Weis Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches: Specific lots of these recalled Weis Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches (look for pouches with a UPC code of 041497216123) were sold in Weis grocery stores throughout New York state, including locations in Binghamton, Elmira, Endicott, Endwell and Vestal, as well as in several stores in Pennsylvania.
•Schnucks Cinnamon-flavored Applesauce Fruit Pouches and Variety Pack: Schnucks is a grocery store chain with 15 locations throughout Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. There are no locations within New York state.
“We know these products are readily available in retail stores across Niagara County and Western New York, and we urge all parents and caregivers to check their pantries and cupboards and immediately discard any of these products that are found,” Stapleton said.
As of Nov. 13, there are 22 cases of lead toxicity in children that consumed the apple purée products in states including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. Cases are children ages 1 to 3 years, with blood lead levels (BLLs) ranging from 4 to 29 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL). Affected children experienced signs and symptoms including headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, change in activity level, and anemia.
As this investigation continues, consumers who have purchased these products are urged to stop using them immediately and either discard them or return to the place of purchase for a full refund. Parents and caregivers of toddlers and young children who may have consumed these recalled products should contact their health care provider.
Most children have no obvious, immediate symptoms from lead exposure, therefore the safest course of action for children with known exposure is testing.
Short-term exposure may lead to headache, abdominal pain/colic, vomiting, and anemia. Longer-term exposure could result in these additional symptoms: irritability, lethargy, fatigue, muscle aches or muscle prickling/burning, occasional abdominal discomfort, constipation, difficulty concentrating/muscular exhaustibility, headache, tremor or weight loss. Lead exposure can seriously harm a child's health and lead to long-term health effects including damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems.
If you are a parent or caregiver with concerns about your child’s exposure to a recalled product, or have issues getting your child tested, call the NCDOH lead poisoning prevention nurse at: 716-278-8212.
For more information regarding the ongoing FDA investigation, visit:
√ NCDOH lead hazard information: https://www.niagaracounty.com/departments/a-f/environmental_health/lead_hazard_information/index.php
√ CDC child lead poisoning prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/default.htm
√ Environmental Protection Agency at https://www.epa.gov/lead
√ Recalls Consumer Product Safety Commission at http://www.cpsc.gov