FDA Alerts Public of Lead Contamination in Certain Cinnamon Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health alert urging consumers to refrain from purchasing six specific ground cinnamon products due to elevated levels of lead. This cautionary measure follows a series of nationwide recalls associated with lead-contaminated applesauce, which resulted in 468 poisonings, primarily among young children.

In response to growing concerns about lead toxicity, the FDA conducted a targeted survey of ground cinnamon products, focusing on discount retail stores. Analysis of samples revealed heightened levels of lead and chromium 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 recommends that manufacturers recall these products, except for MTCI cinnamon, as attempts to reach the company have been unsuccessful. Following the FDA’s alert, four companies have initiated recalls. Colonna Brothers, El Chilar Rodriguez, Raja Foods, and La Fiesta Foods have all announced recalls of their respective ground cinnamon products.

Consumer advocacy groups have praised the FDA for its investigation and transparency but have also highlighted the agency’s limited authority in product recalls. They advocate for empowering the FDA to recall potentially hazardous foods promptly, regardless of manufacturer compliance.

While lead exposure may not exhibit immediate symptoms, prolonged exposure can pose significant health risks. In particular, exposure during pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood can lead to adverse neurological effects, including learning disabilities and decreased IQ. Adults may experience kidney dysfunction, hypertension, and neurocognitive impairments due to chronic lead exposure.

In light of these findings, consumers are urged to discard any of the identified cinnamon products and remain vigilant about potential lead exposure in food items.

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