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Investigators Identify the Suspected Source of Lead Poisoning of Applesauce Pouches

Published on Mar 5, 2024 by Thomas Law Offices.

Investigators identify the suspected source of lead poisoning of applesauce pouches

What started as just over 20 toddlers sick from suspected lead poisoning of applesauce packets has grown into a much bigger issue. Months later, after the initial report was issued by federal officials, hundreds of kids have been affected, and an international investigation into why it occurred has been launched.

Also, investigators have found that not only was lead in specific brands of tainted cinnamon applesauce and apple puree pouches that the affected children between the ages of 1 and 3 consumed, but so too was chromium or a combination of the two, which is referred to as lead chromate.

Continue reading, where we’ll share more details about the initial recall and what’s happened since then. We’ll also share what legal rights you may have if your child was affected by this toxic contamination issue.

An Involuntary Recall of the Tainted Snack Occurred in November

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an advisory on Nov. 13 in which they announced the voluntary recall of several lots of different brands of apple product pouches that they’d identified as containing what they then referred to as “extremely high levels of lead.”

The affected products included:

  • Weis Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches
  • Schnucks Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches
  • WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree Pouches

The affected snack pouches were available both online and in retail outlets nationwide, including at Dollar Tree stores.

How the Health of Kids Who Consumed the Applesauce Was Impacted

Children who may have ingested the tainted applesauce presented with the following symptoms, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Anemia
  • Significant changes in activity levels

The affected kids tested as having between 4 to 29 micrograms per deciliter of lead in their blood, notably higher than the 3.5 marker that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers concerning.

Dangers Associated with Lead Poisoning

While some kids who consumed the contaminated applesauce may not have shown any adverse symptoms after consuming it, others may have displayed the symptoms above.

Long-term exposure to heavy metals like this or ones left behind by industrial plants in the air, soil, or water can cause children to develop learning deficits and behavioral concerns.

Is the Applesauce Lead Contamination Problem Still a Concern?

Around the time the voluntary recall was issued back in November, only 22 toddlers across 14 states had experienced ill effects from consuming the tainted applesauce.

However, by the end of December, there were at least 205 reported cases of lead poisoning in 33 states attributed to the consumption of these applesauce pouches. The number of affected children is now around as much as 400 in at least 43 states.

What Rights Do You Have if Your Child Was Impacted?

Early last month, federal officials announced that the recalled applesauce lead issues all likely had origins with a single cinnamon processor in Ecuador. This finding lead to an interesting turn of events in which a single cinnamon grinder stands accused of having caused this whole fiasco.

Unfortunately, U.S. authorities have little right to take legal action in response, and it’s unclear if Ecuadorian authorities will. Even if no government agency can or does take legal action, you still have rights. We all expect the food we eat to be reasonably safe, and if a producer didn’t provide that, you may be able to sue them for failing to do so.

A product liability lawyer will want to know more about your child’s consumption of the product.

They will also want to see any receipts for the product in question and medical records showing their high lead levels and any complications those rates have caused as well. They’ll advise you of your legal options after reviewing this documentation.

Consultations with attorneys who handle dangerous product cases like these are completely free.

So, reach out to a member of our Thomas Law Offices team right away before the statute of limitations applicable to your case runs out.


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Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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