FDA Finds Elevated Lead Levels in Discount Store Ground Cinnamon

The lead-tainted ground cinnamon products were sold by Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and others.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert on March 6 warning consumers not to use certain ground cinnamon products sold by several discount retailers, including Save A Lot, Patel Brothers, Dollar Tree, and others.

The alert was issued after the FDA conducted a target survey of discount store cinnamon following the recent recall of lead-tainted cinnamon applesauce pouches. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recalled cinnamon applesauce products caused 468 confirmed, probable, or suspected cases of elevated lead levels in people from 44 states.

Results of the target survey showed that ground cinnamon products from six distributors contained elevated levels of lead, ranging from 2.03 to 3.4 parts per million (ppm). The agency says the levels found in the products were significantly lower than those found in the recalled applesauce pouches.

Still, consuming these products may be unsafe and could contribute to elevated lead levels in the blood, leading to adverse health effects, especially in children. Lead exposure during early childhood can cause lowered IQ, behavior challenges, and learning disabilities.

According to the FDA, consumers should check their pantries for the following ground cinnamon products and discard them immediately:

  • La Fiesta brand from La Superior and SuperMercados stores
  • Marcum brand sold by Save A Lot
  • MK brands from SF Supermarket
  • Swad brand sold by Patel Brothers
  • El Chilar brand sold by La Joya Morelense
  • Supreme Tradition brand from Dollar Tree and Family Dollar

The FDA recommended that the manufacturers of the lead-contaminated cinnamon voluntarily recall the products. However, the agency has been unable to contact one distributor — MTCI (MK Brands) — to inform them of the problem or request a voluntary recall.

To date, there have been no reports of adverse health effects related to these products.

If a person suspects they or their child has been exposed to elevated lead levels, they should contact a healthcare provider. Those who experience a lead-related adverse event can report it to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

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