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Disturbing discovery leads to recall of popular kids' snack food: 'The scariest thing that ever happened to me'

"The more I think about it, the angrier I get."

"The more I think about it, the angrier I get."

Photo Credit: iStock

Parents around the country are terrified for their children's futures after a popular fruit pouch brand was recalled for toxic levels of lead.

What happened?

A cinnamon and apple fruit pouch has been linked to hundreds of cases of lead poisoning in young children. The Associated Press reported that blood tests revealed lead levels up to eight times the reference level of concern from the Food and Drug Administration.

The recalled pouches were all products of parent company WanaBana, under the brands WanaBana, Schnucks, and Weis. The pouches have since been removed from the company's website.

The Centers for Disease Control has identified 287 linked cases across 37 states. Samples of the puree revealed lead contamination at levels more than 200 times what the FDA allows. The cinnamon in the pouches was identified as the culprit, and tests revealed the highest result contained lead levels more than 2,000 times greater than FDA standards.

Why is lead poisoning so concerning?

Lead poisoning places children in immediate danger — but there are long-term effects as well, many of which are not entirely known. From increased risks of cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, and high blood pressure to behavioral concerns and learning difficulties, the effects are widespread — and irreversible

"We're really worrying about the future," one parent told the Associated Press. "Is this going to harm him later?"

Unfortunately, this is not the first time spices have contained heavy metals. Cinnamon, turmeric, and paprika have all been known to be intentionally cut with compounds such as lead chromate and lead oxide to improve their appearance, according to FoodChain ID

Morgan Shurtleff, another parent who had been using the pouches, was outraged and frightened. "I'm pretty worried, considering the effects are irreversible," she said. "The more I think about it, the angrier I get."

Spices are not the only source of danger: Toxic levels of lead and other heavy metals have been found everywhere from rivers to underground telephone cables.

"That was the scariest thing that ever happened to me," Shurtleff said.

What's being done?

While the nationwide recall was made on October 31, it took certain stores, including Dollar Tree, over a month to remove all of the pouches from their shelves. 

And while the threat from the pouches may have been neutralized, parents are still worried about accidentally hurting their kids.

For parents who are worried about the hidden ingredients lurking in packaged food, this method of making DIY pouches is both easy and inexpensive. It's just one of many ways to keep kids nourished with healthy and responsible diets.

For those who want to take it one step further, there's nothing more effective than growing your own food and knowing exactly where you're getting your food.

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