FDA says hands tied after suspect named in applesauce lead poisonings

2 months ago 27

Company faces suit implicit lead-tainted applesauce

Company faces suit implicit lead-tainted applesauce 02:04

Authorities successful Ecuador person named a fishy successful their probe of now-recalled lead-tainted applesauce, which has been linked to poisonings of much than 400 Americans crossed 43 states, the Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday — but U.S authorities person "limited authority" to instrumentality steps against him.

Ecuador's authorities allege that Carlos Aguilera, a cinnamon grinder successful Ecuador, is "the apt source" of the poisonings, the FDA said successful an update, noting that the probe by the Agencia Nacional de Regulación, Control y Vigilancia Sanitaria and ineligible proceedings to find work for the contamination are inactive ongoing.

U.S. authorities person said for months that they suspected that the pb poisonings could beryllium intentional, saying 1 of the theories they were pursuing was that it was the effect of "economically motivated adulteration" of the cinnamon utilized successful the applesauce.

"FDA's probe is ongoing to find the constituent of contamination and whether further products are linked to illnesses," the bureau said successful its statement.

Other spices, specified arsenic turmeric, person been intentionally tainted utilizing pb and different substances successful the past, by sellers looking to fell defects successful their products oregon different inflate the magnitude of wealth they tin make.

Testing of cinnamon sticks that Aguilera had sourced from Sri Lanka but not yet processed were tested by Ecuador and were not contaminated with lead, the FDA said. 

The FDA antecedently said that crushed cinnamon supplied from Ecuadorian distributor Negasmart, which ended up successful WanaBana's applesauce, tested for levels of pb and chromium contamination astatine "extremely high" concentrations acold supra what experts deliberation is safe. 

In December, the FDA cited WanaBana for failing to trial its cinnamon applesauce pouches for dense metals. The bureau said the applesauce shaper should person taken steps to mitigate the hazard that cinnamon it was buying for its pouches could beryllium tainted with pb and different toxins.

But the bureau has besides stopped abbreviated of definitively describing the pb poisonings arsenic intentional, arsenic opposed to the effect of an mishap oregon biology contamination.

Last year, FDA officials said its probe of the then-unnamed grinder suspected to beryllium down the poisonings had been hampered by limits to their jurisdiction successful Ecuador. 

"The FDA has constricted authorization implicit overseas constituent suppliers who bash not straight vessel merchandise to the U.S. This is due to the fact that their nutrient undergoes further manufacturing/processing anterior to export. Thus, the FDA cannot instrumentality nonstop enactment with Negasmart oregon Carlos Aguilera," the FDA said successful its Tuesday update.

It is unclear what nonstop enactment the FDA would different take, if Aguilera had been a supplier wrong its jurisdiction. It is besides not wide what different theories the FDA is pursuing for wherefore Aguilera's crushed cinnamon was tainted with lead.

An FDA spokesperson was incapable to instantly supply a effect to a petition for comment.

"My child's favourite snack"

At slightest 413 cases of pb poisoning person been linked by wellness departments to the recalled applesauce pouches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The bureau antecedently said astir reported cases had been successful young children, with the median property of cases astatine astir 2 years old.

Complaints filed by parents with the FDA, obtained by CBS News done a Freedom of Information Act request, accidental that immoderate children had been consuming aggregate pouches regular of the cinnamon applesauce earlier the recall.

"I can't judge thing truthful toxic that's geared towards babies, toddlers, and young children fell done the cracks and present has affected my kid and others," 1 idiosyncratic wrote, aft they said their girl had consumed the pouches.

The 2-year-old's pb levels tested arsenic precocious arsenic 25.4 deciliters per microgram, the ailment said, acold beyond the thresholds erstwhile the CDC urges parents and doctors to instrumentality steps to code pb poisoning.

The CDC warns young children are particularly susceptible to the array of superior semipermanent harms caused by pb poisoning, including harm to the encephalon and tense system. 

"So bittersweet to suffer implicit religion successful a institution that was erstwhile my child's favourite snack," they wrote.

Alexander Tin

Alexander Tin is simply a integer newsman for CBS News based successful the Washington, D.C. bureau. He covers the Biden administration's nationalist wellness agencies, including the national effect to infectious illness outbreaks similar COVID-19.

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