The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

Say no to applesauce

With+applesauce%E2%80%99s+reputation+as+a+highly+favored+snack+by+children%2C+the+Food+and+Drug+Administration%28FDA%29+has+recalled+the+sweet+treat+after+finding+lead+in+several+cinnamon-flavored+applesauce+pouches.+So+far%2C+three+children+in+South+Carolina+faced+elevated+counts+of+lead+in+their+bloodstream+after+consumption+of+the+applesauce.+The+FDA+continues+to+attempt+to+stop+the+spread+of+lead+poisoning+through+applesauce+brands+such+as+Wanabana%2C+Shnucks+and+Weis.%0A
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With applesauce’s reputation as a highly favored snack by children, the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has recalled the sweet treat after finding lead in several cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches. So far, three children in South Carolina faced elevated counts of lead in their bloodstream after consumption of the applesauce. The FDA continues to attempt to stop the spread of lead poisoning through applesauce brands such as Wanabana, Shnucks and Weis.

Lead, one of the most toxic metals, has lingered in cinnamon-flavored applesauce nationwide. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported up to 82 cases of lead poisoning in children as of December 26, 2023. Scientists have traced the outbreak to several cinnamon applesauce brands: WanaBana, Schnucks and Weis. The FDA recalled Wanabana December 13, but the product still appears in several Dollar Tree stores across the United States. All three brands came from Astro Foods in Ecuador and contained 2,000 times the recommended amount of lead.            

These applesauce brands mainly target children, a group that suffers the greatest from lead poisoning because they absorb the toxic metal 35% to 25% more than adults through the gastrointestinal tract. Lead exposure causes damage to the brain and nervous system, slows growth and development and increases speech problems in adolescents. These effects can infinitely affect a child and possibly lead to death.

“I don’t understand how lead gets into the applesauce because it normally gets into bodies of water, so getting into applesauce is confusing. I had no clue about this but I’m very surprised. I am glad that the government is trying to make people aware,” magnet senior Kesh Harmes said.

January 5, the FDA found chromium—a naturally occurring element— in several of the cinnamon applesauce pouches. Chromium ingestion can result in an increased risk of lung cancer because of its carcinogenic potential. Chromium (VI) causes more damage than chromium (III) because it contains more powerful oxidizing agents, making chromium (VI) more corrosive and irritating than chromium (III). Due to limitations in testing, the FDA could not determine whether the chromium in the applesauce appeared as chromium (III) or chromium (VI). 

December 13, 2023, the FDA recalled WanaBana, but the product still appears in several Dollar Tree stores across the USA. On the other hand, grocery stores such as Schnucks, Eatwell Markets and Weis carry the cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and Weis-brand cinnamon applesauce on their shelves. Monday, January 8, The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources reported that three children who had consumed the recalled applesauce products showed blood lead levels above the reference value—3.5 micrograms per deciliter.  

“Those children, to my understanding, are doing well currently, although they will continue to be monitored for some time. That is where we focused our efforts on working with Dollar Tree to make sure that all of those are off the shelves and are no longer being sold, but I can’t say for sure that that’s where these children got them. We know that it is primarily distributed, but that doesn’t mean that that is the absolute only place but primarily distributed in the state through Dollar Tree,” Director of Health Promotion and Services Dr. Brannon Traxler said.

As the FDA tries its best to remove all three brands from retail stores, they advise people away from WanaBana, Schnucks or Weis-brand apple cinnamon pouches and discard the products within their homes. The FDA also suggests that consumers should contact their healthcare providers if they ingested recalled products to look for lead or chromium in their bloodstream. 

 
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About the Contributor
Lauren Lee, Copy Editor
Lauren Lee, a senior at NC, is an editor for The Chant. She joined in January 2022 during her sophomore year. She loves writing about recent global events and health crises; she finds a way to turn these topics into impactful and enticing articles. She can be seen reading the New York Times daily to research information about national and global issues. Helping others become better writers and finding their passion also lies in her interests. When she is not writing, she is volunteering at food banks, spending time with family and friends  and shopping.   

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