Authorities in Ecuador have identified the possible source of contaminated ground cinnamon used in fruit bags tied to more than 400 potential cases of lead poisoning in American children, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.
Carlos Aguilera, a cinnamon processing company in Ecuador, supplied the spice added to WanaBana and other bags of applesauce shipped to the United States, according to the Ecuadorian regulatory agency ARCSA. The cinnamon, which was shipped to another supplier, Negasmart, was found to be contaminated with high levels of lead and chromium, an FDA analysis showed. Carlos Aguilera is not operating at this time, ARCSA said.
The raw cinnamon sticks used in the products were originally imported from Sri Lanka. The bars were tested and found to be free of lead contamination, ARCSA told the FDA. The Ecuadorian agency’s investigation continues.
The FDA has limited authority over foreign ingredient suppliers that do not ship products directly to the U.S. Because the finished bags, but not the cinnamon itself, were shipped to the U.S., the agency cannot take direct measures against Negasmart or Carlos Aguilera, officials said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received reports of 413 suspected, probable or confirmed cases of lead poisoning, primarily in young children, in 43 states.
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