A series of recalled applesauce pouches sold by brands — Weis, WanaBana, and Schnucks — that left many children sick with lead poisoning may have been tainted intentionally, The Hill reported Friday.
“We’re still in the midst of our investigation,” FDA Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods Jim Jones told Politico. “But so far, all of the signals we’re getting lead to an intentional act on the part of someone in the supply chain and we’re trying to sort of figure that out.”
All three brands that sold the contaminated pouches are linked to a manufacturing facility in Ecuador that is currently under FDA inspection.
Jones added he thinks the facility didn’t believe the contaminated applesauce would have ended up on shelves in a country with robust oversight.
“My instinct is they didn’t think this product was going to end up in a country with a robust regulatory process. They thought it was going to end up in places that did not have the ability to detect something like this.”
According to the FDA’s most recent theories, the agency suspects the applesauce was contaminated for economic gain, potentially by altering the ingredients to boost the product’s perceived value and sell it for a higher price.
Jones noted to Politico that despite the United States’ existing food safety laws, deliberate contamination will always be hard to “absolutely stop.”
An FDA spokesman later stated that the agency has “limited authority over foreign ingredient suppliers that do not directly ship product to the U.S. because their food undergoes further manufacturing/processing prior to export.”
State and local officials first noticed elevated levels of lead in children in standard blood screenings.
“We’re going,” Jones said, “to chase that data and find whoever was responsible and hold them accountable.”
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Nick Koutsobinas, a Newsmax writer, has years of news reporting experience. A graduate from Missouri State University’s philosophy program, he focuses on exposing corruption and censorship.
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