FDA: Ground Cinnamon Products May Contain Toxic Levels of Lead

New list stems from an ongoing investigation regarding lead in products containing cinnamon
FDA: Ground Cinnamon Products May Contain Toxic Levels of Lead

WEDNESDAY, March 6, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- A health advisory has been issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding six brands of ground cinnamon that contain elevated levels of lead.

The FDA urged people to throw away and not buy the following brands of ground cinnamon: La Fiesta, sold at La Superior SuperMercados; Marcum, sold at Save A Lot; MK, sold at SF Supermarket; Swad, sold at Patel Brothers; Supreme Tradition, sold at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar; and El Chilar, sold at La Joya Morelense in Baltimore.

The new list of tainted ground cinnamon products resulted from an October 2023 recall of cinnamon applesauce and apple puree products due to elevated lead levels, the FDA said. That recall prompted the FDA to test ground cinnamon sold in discount retail stores for the presence of lead or chromium. The FDA has recommended that the companies behind these ground cinnamon brands recall their products.

The levels of lead in the listed ground cinnamons range from 2.03 to 3.4 parts per million, the FDA said. Those levels are significantly lower than those found in the recalled cinnamon apple puree and applesauce products manufactured by Austrofoods, the agency said. The ground cinnamon in those products, supplied by a now-defunct Ecuadorian company called Carlos Aguilera, had lead levels between 2,270 and 5,110 parts per million, the FDA said.

The applesauce investigation revealed the complex international web of food suppliers, processors, and manufacturers that makes FDA oversight of imported products sold in American markets very tough, the agency said. Legally, the FDA's hands are tied. In the case of the ground cinnamon, the FDA is targeting U.S. sellers of these products to keep the tainted items off shelves.

"Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the manufacturers and the importers to ensure the safety of the products that enter into the U.S. market," the FDA said in its new warning. "The FDA also sent a letter to all cinnamon manufacturers, processors, distributors, and facility operators in the U.S. reminding them of the requirement to implement controls to prevent contamination from potential chemical hazards in food, including in ground cinnamon products."

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