Several more children sickened by lead-contaminated fruit purée bags

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported more cases of children apparently becoming ill from bags of applesauce recently recalled due to dangerous lead contamination.

The agency received 52 reports of elevated lead levels among children who reportedly consumed the products, representing an increase in 34 cases reported last week. The reports cover 22 states and involve children between 1 and 4 years old, according to the FDA’s online update on the investigation.

The bags were marketed to parents and children under three brand names: WanaBana Cinnamon Applesauce and Schnucks and Weis Cinnamon Applesauce bags. They were sold by national supermarket chains, including Dollar Tree, and online retailers such as Amazon.

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Three applesauce products recalled. The FDA said it is still working with Dollar Tree to remove the identified products from shelves in several states.FDA via AP

The FDA said it is still working with Dollar Tree to remove the identified products from shelves in several states.

“This product should not be available for sale and consumers should not purchase or consume it,” the agency said.

Parents should dispose of the bags by emptying the contents into the trash and throwing away the packaging, the agency said.

The FDA said Wednesday that it is investigating the source of the contamination in these children’s foods, in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency previously said cinnamon imported from a manufacturer in Ecuador was the “likely source” of the lead contamination.

Lead exposure can cause serious learning and behavioral problems. Heavy metals like lead can get into food products through soil, air, water or industrial processes, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

There is no safe level of lead exposure, but the CDC uses a marker of 3.5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children with higher levels than most. The blood lead levels of the affected children ranged between 4 and 29 micrograms per deciliter.