Federal and state officials are warning people to stay away from several apple-cinnamon-flavored fruit puree products that contain extremely high levels of lead.
Lead poisoning can have serious consequences for people, especially children, including damage to the brain and nervous system.
The warning includes fruit puree pouches made by WanaBana, Weis and Schnucks, specifically the apple cinnamon flavors. WanaBana is sold in Dollar Tree stores and online, while the other two brands are sold at grocers outside of Oregon and Washington.
Health officials say the tainted products have likely been eaten by children locally, though no cases have been confirmed.
During a press conference Monday, Multnomah County health leaders said they were seeing “smoke, but no fire.”
“There is reason to be suspicious that we do have children in our jurisdiction that have consumed this product and whose blood lead levels may indeed be connected to it,” said Perry Cabot, who leads Multnomah County’s lead poisoning prevention program.
Cabot said parents who have given these products to their children should have their children’s blood tested immediately. They should also keep the product packaging on hand for their healthcare providers.
Cabot said federal health inspectors haven’t identified the specific ingredient responsible for the high levels of lead, though they suspect it may be the cinnamon. He stopped short of recommending parents stay away from all cinnamon products.
“We want people to be mindful of these particular products and not necessarily panic about cinnamon in general,” he said. “But I’m going to make a plug for sourcing things locally, buying organic, looking into where things come from to the best extent possible.”
A Multnomah County health department spokesperson said the county is also spreading the urgent message in Spanish through its social media platforms.