Ground cinnamon sold in U.S. discount stores is contaminated with lead, FDA says

Ground cinnamon sold in U.S. discount stores is contaminated with lead, FDA says

by CAITLYN FROLO | The National Desk

Wednesday March 6, 2024

This photo combination provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 shows cinnamon products sold in U.S. discount stores that have elevated levels of lead. Top row from left is distributed by La Fiesta Food Products of La Miranda, California. Moran Foods, LLC of Saint Ann, Missouri, and MTCI of Santa Fe Springs, California. Bottom row from left is from Raja Foods LLC of Skokie, Illinois; Greenbriar International, Inc. of Chesapeake, Virginia, and El Chilar of Apopka, Florida (FDA via AP)


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After that recall, the FDA began a “targeted investigation” of cinnamon products sold in discount stores, looking for lead and chromium.

Six products were found to “contain elevated levels of lead and that prolonged exposure to these products may be unsafe.” The products had elevated lead levels between 2.03 and 3.4 parts per million (ppm).

However, the FDA said there were currently “no illnesses or adverse events” reported associated with the products.

These levels are significantly lower than lead levels associated with the ongoing investigation of ground cinnamon from Ecuador that Negasmart supplied to Austrofoods, the maker of the apple puree and applesauce products, which ranged from 2,270 ppm to 5,110 ppm in the cinnamon, the FDA said.

The FDA recommends consumers throw away and/or not purchase the following brands of ground cinnamon:

  • La Fiesta (Distributor: La Fiesta Food Products, La Miranda, CA)
  • Marcum (Distributor: Moran Foods, LLC, Saint Ann, MO)
  • MK (Distributor: MTCI, Santa Fe Springs, CA)
  • Swad (Distributor: Raja Foods LLC, Skokie, IL)
  • Supreme Tradition (Distributor: Greenbriar International, Inc., Chesapeake, VA)
  • El Chilar (Distribution: El Chilar, Apopka, FL)

The agency is also calling on retailers selling the products, including La Superior SuperMercados, Save A Lot, Patel Brothers, Family Dollar, Dollar General and La Joya Morelense, to voluntarily recall the products.

“Removing the ground cinnamon products in this alert from the market will prevent them from introducing increased amounts of lead into children’s diets,” the FDA said.

According to the Associated Press, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores have removed the cinnamon from their shelves, a company spokesman said. Customers can return products to nearby stores for a refund.

However, MTCI's MK cinnamon brand currently remains an exception, as the FDA said it was “unable to reach MTCI to communicate our findings and request that the company initiate a recall.”

The FDA recommends that consumers:

  • The FDA advises consumers to stop using and discard these products.
  • Consumers should not eat, sell, or serve the ground cinnamon products listed in the table above and should discard them.
  • These products have a long shelf life. Consumers should check their homes and dispose of these products.
  • If you suspect that someone has been exposed to elevated lead levels, contact your doctor. Most people have no obvious immediate symptoms of lead exposure.

The FDA says it will continue to work with manufacturers, distributors and retailers to remove unsafe products from the market.

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