Amid reports of more illnesses and additional product recalls, U.S. health officials have expanded their investigation into potentially lead-tainted pouches of apple cinnamon pureed fruit.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in an updated alert posted Friday that it has received reports of seven illnesses in at least five states possibly linked to contaminated puree.

Two new companies, Schnucks Markets of St. Louis and Weis Markets of Sunbury, Pa., announced recalls of certain cinnamon applesauce products because they may contain high levels of lead. WanaBana of Coral Gables, Fla., had previously recalled all lots and expiration dates of its apple cinnamon fruit puree.

Eating the contaminated products could result in “acute toxicity,” FDA officials said. Parents and caregivers should not buy or serve the cinnamon applesauce products, which are sold through multiple retailers, including Amazon, Dollar Tree, Weis Markets, Schnucks and Eatwell Markets.

Children and others who have consumed the products should be tested for possible lead poisoning, the agency said.

Just last week, the FDA issued an initial warning after four children in North Carolina were found to have high levels of lead in their blood that was linked to the WanaBana products, the FDA said. 

State health officials detected “extremely high” concentrations of lead in the pouches after analyzing multiple lots. 

Lead can enter food products through soil, air, water and industrial processes, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

It’s not good for anyone, but can seriously harm children’s health. Lead can cause brain and nervous system damage, as well as slowed growth and development. 

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the health effects of lead exposure.

SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, public health alert, Oct. 28, 2023