Federal health officials are warning parents and caregivers not to buy WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit purée pouches or feed them to their children because the product may contain elevated levels of lead.
Children who have had the fruit pouches should be taken to a health care provider to get a blood test, the Food and Drug Administration said on Saturday.
After four children in North Carolina were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood, an investigation by state health and consumer agencies identified the pouches “as a potential shared source of exposure,” the F.D.A. said. North Carolina health officials analyzed multiple samples of the fruit purée and detected “extremely high concentrations of lead,” the agency added.
The F.D.A. reviewed the findings and said that those lead levels “could result in acute toxicity.”
The fruit purée pouches are sold nationally and are available through multiple retailers including Sam’s Club, Amazon and Dollar Tree. WanaBana, based in Coral Gables, Fla., agreed to voluntarily recall all WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit purée pouches, regardless of the expiration date.
The company said in a statement issued on Sunday that it was working closely with the F.D.A. to investigate the source of contamination. “The company is committed to ensuring the safety of its products and the well-being of its consumers,” the statement said.
Children under 6 are at greatest risk for health issues from lead exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lead is toxic to people of any age or health status, but it’s more harmful to younger children because their bodies are still developing. Lead poisoning is often difficult to spot in children because they typically have no obvious or immediate symptoms, according to the F.D.A.
Lead toxicity can be diagnosed only through clinical testing, the agency said, and signs and symptoms vary based on exposure. Short-term symptoms include headache, abdominal pain, vomiting and anemia. In the long term, side effects can include irritability, lethargy, fatigue, constipation and difficulty concentrating.
Children in particular can experience damage to the brain and the nervous system, learning and behavior problems, and difficulty with hearing and speech, according to the C.D.C.