FDA Finds High Levels Of Chromium In Cinnamon Applesauce Packets

In an ongoing investigation of recalled cinnamon applesauce pouches containing dangerous amounts of lead, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has discovered a high level of another trace element: chromium. The pouches which are labeled under the WanaBana, Schnucks, and Weiss brand names were originally identified in October 2023 as a potential source of lead toxicity. Since then, dozens of additional illnesses, all in children under the age of 6, were reported in association with consuming the product.

Unlike lead, which is always unsafe to ingest, per the CDC, chromium plays a crucial role in bodily processes when consumed at safe levels. It facilitates the absorption of various nutrients such as vitamin C and protein and boosts insulin's activity in the body, among other things. However, having too much in your system can be hazardous.

Chromium toxicity symptoms could include nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and potential kidney and liver problems, but you may also experience no symptoms. The FDA recommends contacting your medical provider if you or someone in your home consumed the contaminated applesauce.

Destroy and discard contaminated product

The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) has published guidance for those who may have consumed lead or unsafe levels of chromium. It notes that in the case of chromium, medical professionals may want to conduct metabolic testing and urinalysis. But if you are hoping for an antidote, unfortunately, one doesn't exist currently. Despite the initial applesauce recalls occurring in October, the punches remained in stores for some time after, increasing the chances of exposure.

The FDA found that some stores still had recalled pouches on their shelves as late as December 2023. Because the pouches have a long shelf life, they could also still be present in homes. The potentially tainted items were sold widely through Dollar Tree, Schnucks, Weis, Amazon, and other online retailers. If you have any of the recalled cinnamon applesauce, the FDA recommends opening the pouches and dumping the applesauce. This would reduce the risk that the food is salvaged and consumed by anyone not aware of the contamination.

The source of the lead and chromium contamination has been narrowed down to the cinnamon used for flavoring the fruit puree. It was sourced in Ecuador where the applesauce was produced. The FDA has been proactively monitoring cinnamon imports for lead.