PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
December 18, 2023

Kaitlan Baston, MD, MSc, DFASAM
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Department of Health Urges NJ Residents to Discard Recalled Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches, Stay Vigilant for Signs & Symptoms of Lead Exposure Following Consumption

Certain Lots of Cinnamon Applesauce Under WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis Brands May Contain Elevated Lead

TRENTON – Amid an ongoing national recall of cinnamon applesauce fruit pouches that have been found to contain elevated levels of lead, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) urges residents, especially parents and caregivers, to take necessary precautions to protect against the dangers of lead exposure and poisoning, especially to the health of children.

Individuals, parents, and caregivers are advised to discard recalled pouches immediately and consult a health care provider if they suspect lead exposure or if they or a child are experiencing symptoms of lead toxicity after eating recalled fruit pouches.

“Lead is toxic and can affect people of any age or health status, and it’s especially unsafe for younger children. There is no safe level of lead for children,” said Acting Commissioner of Health Dr. Kaitlan Baston. “Throughout this ongoing national investigation into the source of lead in the recalled products, we urge our residents – and especially parents, guardians, and caregivers – to be extra vigilant to stay safe and keep their children protected from the harmful effects of lead.”

Any child up to age 3 years of age who has been exposed to a known or suspected source of lead should be tested. In addition, routinely, all children should be tested at 12 months and 24 months of age, or by age 3 years if never previously tested. More about childhood lead screening can be found here: www.nj.gov/health/childhoodlead/testing.shtml.

Although children with lead exposure may have no obvious immediate symptoms, there is no safe level and even low levels of lead have been associated with learning, behavioral, and cognitive deficits. A child who is exposed to large amounts of lead may develop acute lead poisoning, showing gastrointestinal, hematological, and neurological effects, including one or more of the following signs and symptoms: anemia; abdominal pain, constipation, and nausea; weakness and fatigue; and severe neurological symptoms (e.g. seizures, encephalopathy, and coma), which may result in brain damage. Some effects of lead poisoning in a child may continue into adulthood.

Adults who have high blood level levels (BLLs) may be at increased risk for high blood pressure, other cardiovascular effects, kidney problems, adverse reproductive outcomes, and gout.

As lead poisoning primarily targets the central nervous system, children under six years of age are particularly vulnerable to its impact because their nervous systems are still developing. Children also tend to absorb a higher fraction of ingested lead than adults.

In November, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a national recall of three million pouches of cinnamon applesauce sold at dollar stores and other retailers and online outlets under the WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis brand names. The recall included certain lots of the following products: WanaBana brand apple cinnamon fruit purée pouches; Schnucks brand cinnamon applesauce pouches; and Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches. More information about the specific recalled products can be found on the FDA’s website: Investigation of Elevated Lead Levels: Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches (November 2023).

Multiple states have reported to the FDA potential cases of high BLLs in children consuming the recalled cinnamon-containing applesauce products. As of December 8, there have been 125 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from state and local health departments, with 46 confirmed cases, 68 probable cases, and 11 suspected cases of elevated blood levels throughout the U.S. Cases experienced signs and symptoms including headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, change in activity level, and anemia.

Symptoms of Lead Toxicity

  • Short-term exposure could result in the following symptoms: headache; abdominal pain/colic; vomiting; anemia.
  • Longer term exposure could result in the following additional symptoms: irritability; lethargy; fatigue; muscle aches or muscle prickling/burning; constipation; difficulty concentrating/muscular weakness; tremor; weight loss.

Stores Affected by Recall

  • WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches are sold nationally and are available through multiple retailers including Amazon, Dollar Tree, and other online outlets, as well as Weis grocery stores.

Recommendations & How to Safely Discard Recalled Pouches

  • Consumers should not eat, sell, or serve recalled WanaBana, Schnucks, or Weis-brand apple cinnamon pouches and should discard them.
  • These products have a long shelf life. Consumers should check their homes and discard these products.
  • To properly discard the product, consumers and retailers should carefully open the pouch and empty the content into a trash can before discarding the packaging to prevent others from salvaging recalled product from the trash. Clean up any spills after discarding the product and then wash your hands.

Recommendations for the Public

  1. Do not buy, eat, sell, or serve recalled cinnamon-containing applesauce pouch products because they may contain lead.
  2. Parents and caregivers of children who may have consumed recalled products should contact their child’s health care provider about getting a blood test for lead.
  3. If you or your child have symptoms or exposure to this product, you can also file a complaint or adverse event report (illness or serious allergic reaction).

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Last Reviewed: 12/18/2023