United States: The US FDA’s investigation discovered approximately 500 cases of lead poisoning prompted by the reports, primarily affecting young children. The agency identified and eliminated six products linked to these cases.

Consumers in the United States are advised not to purchase cinnamon packages from Family Dollar and Dollar Tree due to their high lead content, as indicated by FDA experts in a health advisory issued on Wednesday.

This advisory also recommends that consumers thoroughly inspect their cupboards and discard any of the six identified items. The advisory comes in the wake of a nationwide recall of lead-tainted applesauce, which resulted in 468 cases of poisoning, predominantly among young children.

FDA launches an inquiry amid rising dangers of lead

In response to the rising risks of lead poisoning, especially among children, the FDA launched a dedicated inquiry into ground cinnamon products sold at discount stores. The agency tested samples for lead and chromium contamination, finding elevated levels of these metals in six brands:

  • La Fiesta (sold at La Superior and SuperMercados)
  • Marcum (sold at Save A Lot)
  • MTCI (sold at SF Supermarket)
  • Swad (sold at Patel Brothers)
  • Supreme Tradition (sold at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar)
  • El Chilar (sold at La Joya Morelense)

The FDA has recommended that manufacturers of these products initiate recalls, except for MTCI cinnamon, as the agency has been unable to reach the company.

Companies start recalling affected products

Following the FDA’s warning, companies have begun recalling the affected products. North Bergen Colonna Brothers, located in New Jersey, has recalled 1.5-ounce Ground Cinnamon and 2.25-ounce Supreme Tradition Ground Cinnamon distributed nationwide, including via mail order channels. The company has halted all ground cinnamon production and distribution.

Additionally, El Chilar Rodriguez of Apopka, Fla., is recalling 127 cases of El Chilar Ground Cinnamon “Canela Molida” sold in 1.25-ounce bags. These products are distributed by La Raza of Forestville, Md., and sold at retail stores throughout Maryland.

What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?

In some cases, lead exposure can cause immediate symptoms, although major symptoms are not immediately visible. Prolonged exposure to lead particles can be hazardous to human health.

Exposure to lead during pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood can lead to severe neurotoxic effects, such as lowered IQ and learning and behavioral disabilities. In adults, chronic exposure to lead can disrupt kidney function, increase blood pressure, and lead to neurocognitive effects.

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