FDA Announces Update to Fruit Pouch Contamination Investigation
Wednesday, February 7, 2024
- As our readers are likely aware, in November of last year, WanaBana voluntarily recalled apple cinnamon fruit pouches which were linked to acute lead toxicity in children. The products were sold under the WanaBana, Schnucks, and Weis brand names. The subsequent investigation traced the contamination to cinnamon from Austrofoods, an Ecuadorian food distributor. Cinnamon at the Austrofoods’s facility was also found to contain elevated levels of chromium, although it was not clear from the testing whether it contained chromium III, or the more toxic chromium VI. Considering the very high levels of lead and chromium, FDA raised the possibility of intentional economic adulteration.
- The contaminated (ground) cinnamon was supplied to Austrofoods by Negasmart (also known as Negocios Asocidos Mayoristas S.A.), which sourced the cinnamon sticks from Sri Lanka but had the sticks processed by Carlos Aguilera. Both Negasmart and Carlos Aguilera are also Ecuadorian companies.
- In the most recent update, released yesterday (February 6th), FDA announced that Ecuadorian officials have reported that the cinnamon sticks from Sri Lanka were found to be uncontaminated and that the cinnamon processor, Carlos Aguilera, is the most likely source of contamination. Per the report, Carlos Aguilera is “not in operation at this time.”
- The recall highlights the complexity of modern supply chains and the difficulty in orchestrating a response when the issue crosses borders. FDA cannot take direct action against companies that do not export products to the United States including, in this case, Negasmart and Carlos Aguilera.