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Based on NC tests, FDA warns against serving a brand of apple puree to young children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration urged parents not to serve a popular apple puree to toddlers and young children after North Carolina state health officials discovered that the product contained high levels of lead.

The FDA issued an alert Saturday urging parents not to buy or serve WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches. The pouches are sold nationwide through retailers such as Sam’s Club, Amazon and Dollar Tree.

The agency also says 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.

Lead is toxic to humans and can cause health problems to people at any age.

But health officials are particularly concerned about lead exposure in children under the age of six because they are still early in their development and are especially vulnerable to lead’s harmful effects. Brief exposure can cause headaches, abdominal pain and vomiting, while long-term exposure can damage the brain and nervous system, causing a host of development, learning and behavior problems.

That’s why, under state law, test results for blood lead levels in children under the age of 6 must be reported to the State Department of Health and Human Services. When potentially toxic levels are found, the agency tries to find the source.

The WanaBana puree emerged as a potential source of high lead levels in several children in the western part of the state, according to DHHS. The agency then tested “multiple lots” of the product and found “extremely high concentrations of lead,” according to the FDA.

The FDA says it shared the North Carolina test results with WanaBana and that the company has agreed to voluntarily recall all of its apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches.

For more information on the health effects of lead in children, go to www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/prevention/health-effects.htm.