Consumer Alert: A child in Monroe County suffered lead poisoning from apple sauce. Here’s what parents need to do

Consumer Alert: Lead Poisoning

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A child in Monroe County has been diagnosed with lead poisoning after eating recalled apple sauce. You may remember I told you about the recalled products last month.

Wana Bana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree as well as Schnucks and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches were recalled on November 9th after a number of children suffered lead poisoning after eating the product. Some children had to be hospitalized. But the majority of children suffer no immediate symptoms.

That was the case for a Maryland couple who learned at their little boy’s one year wellness check that he had lead poisoning.

“Never in a million years did I think my son would be affected by lead poisoning,” said Sarah Callahan.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, children in 27 states have been diagnosed with lead poisoning linked to Wana Bana Apple Cinnamon fruit pouches as well as Schnucks and Weis Cinnamon Applesauce pouches. And one of those children lives in the Rochester area.

“The individual is less than the age of six and a resident of Monroe County,” said Dr. Mike Mendoza, the county’s public health commissioner. “And through our investigation, we determined that the individual had consumed one of the recalled apple sauce products.”

The only local retailer that sold the recalled products was Dollar Tree which carries Wana Bana fruit puree pouches. Exactly one week after the November 9th recall, I searched Dollar Tree stores and found one of box of the recalled apple cinnamon left on a store shelf. 

To test whether Dollar Tree was still selling the product, I tried to buy it, but an alarm sounded at the register alerting the clerk that the product had been recalled. I reached out to the discount retailer and a spokesman wrote, “We are committed to the integrity and safety of the products we sell. The safety feature you noticed is used in all of our stores and is programmed directly into our point-of-sale system, managed by our corporate office.”

Since that is the case, it’s unlikely the parents of the child in our area bought the recalled apple sauce recently. But Dr. Mendoza worries that families may have bought the pouches before the recall and still have some in their homes.

“That’s the concern in our community, and all the communities where up to 64 people have been identified with lead poisoning related to the recalled products,” he said. “We’re reaching out to our community today asking you to look through your pantry.”

As mentioned, these things don’t have to be refrigerated. We know that things can live in our pantries for months and years.

Children with lead poisoning may have no immediate symptoms. So, if you think your child may have eaten one of these apple sauces, it’s important to call your doctor. Children who have been poisoned by lead can suffer from cognitive impairment and ADHD.

These products were also sold on Amazon. So, take a look in the pantry, and if you find them, Dr. Mendoza asks that you empty the sauce in the trash before you throw the pouch away.