Officials in Ecuador say they have identified a suspect as part of their investigation into the recalled lead-contaminated applesauce pouches.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said a cinnamon grinder in Ecuador is “the likely source” of the lead contamination. He was identified by Ecuadorian authorities as Carlos Aguilera.
“FDA has no indication that this issue extends beyond these recalled products and does not have any confirmed reports of illnesses or elevated blood lead level adverse events reported for other cinnamon-containing products or cinnamon,” the FDA said. However, the agency said it has limited authority over ingredient supplies that are part of foreign countries that don’t ship their products or items directly to the U.S.
The investigation, as well as legal proceedings in Ecuador, are ongoing to determine responsibility, according to CBS News.
Officials in the United States have said that they believe that the lead poisonings were possibly intentional, CBS News reported. One of the theories was that the contamination was because of “economically motivated adulteration of the cinnamon used in the applesauce.” Often in such cases, food is made to appear more expensive, such as when companies add cheaper vegetable oil to olive oil and sell it as 100% olive oil, according to the FDA.
“FDA’s investigation is ongoing to determine the point of contamination and whether additional products are linked to illnesses,” the FDA said, according to CBS News.
In October, WanaBana recalled all its apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches. The company later expanded the recall to include some Schnucks and Weis cinnamon applesauce pouches.
Illnesses believed to be linked to the applesauce recall have been reported in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin, according to officials.
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