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Ground cinnamon

FDA Highlights Steps Taken to Ensure Safety of Cinnamon Products

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Ground cinnamon

The FDA has announced several additional steps it is taking to address concerns about elevated lead levels. Last week, the agency 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 ground cinnamon products. The agency is also recommending the voluntary recall of certain ground cinnamon products (see below) sold by a number of brands at six different retail chains that were found to contain elevated levels of lead.

The FDA is advising consumers to throw away and not to buy the ground cinnamon products with the lot codes listed below because samples of these products were found to contain elevated levels of lead as it is works with the firms listed to voluntarily recall the products, with the exception of the MTCI cinnamon. The FDA has been unable to reach MTCI to share its findings and request that the company initiate a recall.

Ground Cinnamon Distributor Ground Cinnamon Retailer(s) Ground Cinnamon Lot Code(s)
La Fiesta Food Products
La Miranda, CA
La Superior SuperMercados 25033
Marcum, Moran Foods, LLC
Saint Ann, MO
Save A Lot Best By: 10/16/25 10 DB; 04/06/25 0400B1
Santa Fe Springs, CA
SF Supermarket No codes
SWAD, Raja Foods LLC
Skokie, IL
Patel Brothers KX21223
Best Before: July 2026
Supreme Tradition, Greenbriar International, Inc.
Chesapeake, VA
Dollar Tree
Family Dollar
Best By: 09/29/25 09E8; 04/17/25 04E11; 12/19/25 12C2; 04/12/25 04ECB12; 08/24/25 08A_ _; 04/21/25 04E5; and 2025-09-22 09E20
El Chilar
Apopka, FL
La Joya Morelense, Baltimore, MD F275EX1026; D300EX1024


The FDA emphasized that the lead levels found in the ground cinnamon products listed above are significantly lower than lead levels in cinnamon in the recalled apple sauce pouches removed from the market this past fall. The products currently recommended for recall contain lead levels ranging from 2.03 to 3.4 parts per million (ppm) lead. This is approximately 2,000 ppm to nearly 5,000 ppm lower than the levels of lead associated with the cinnamon in recalled apple puree and apple sauce products. Therefore, these ground cinnamon products do not pose the same level of risk to human health as the apple sauce pouches but could be unsafe for prolonged use.

“Today’s actions serve as a signal to industry that more needs to be done to prevent elevated levels of contaminants from entering our food supply,” said Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods Jim Jones. “Food growers, manufacturers, importers, and retailers share a responsibility for ensuring the safety of the foods that reach store shelves. The levels of lead we found in some ground cinnamon products are too high and we must do better to protect those most vulnerable to the negative health outcomes of exposure to elevated levels of lead.”

The FDA reminds manufacturers, processors, distributors, and facility operators to follow the requirements of the rule Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food, including the requirement to consider chemical hazards that may be present in foods when conducting hazard analyses required by this rule. While the agency continues to emphasize the importance of the cinnamon industry’s responsibility to take measures to prevent potential chemical hazards in its products, the letter to industry and recent recalls highlight how the FDA will request the removal of unsafe cinnamon products from the market.

As part of its Closer to Zero initiative, the FDA continues to pursue additional authorities from Congress to require manufacturers to test ingredients or final products marketed for consumption by infants and young children for contaminants before products enter the U.S. market. Under current federal law, there is no explicit requirement for manufacturers to conduct such testing. The President’s FY2024 Budget contains legislative proposals to explicitly require industry to conduct this testing, maintain testing results for FDA inspection and provide the FDA remote access to test results.


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FDA Identifies Suspect in Lead Contamination Investigation

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On Tuesday, the FDA announced a suspect in the WanaBana cinnamon-applesauce pouch contamination investigation. Per the FDA, Ecuadorian officials in Agencia Nacional de Regulación, Control y Vigilancia Sanitaria (ARCSA) have reported that Carlos Aguilera of Ecuador, the processor of the ground cinnamon supplied by Negasmart to Austrofoods and later used in recalled apple cinnamon products, is the likely source of contamination. According to ARCSA, the unprocessed cinnamon sticks used in recalled products were sourced from Sri Lanka and were sampled by ARCSA and found to have no lead contamination. ARCSA’s investigation and legal proceedings to determine ultimate responsibility for the contamination are still ongoing.

The FDA noted that it has limited authority over foreign ingredient suppliers who do not directly ship product to the U.S. This is because their food undergoes further manufacturing/processing prior to export. Thus, the FDA cannot take direct action with Negasmart or Carlos Aguilera.

As of February 2, there were 100 confirmed cases of lead poisoning, 277 probable cases and 36 suspected cases of for a total of 413 cases from 43 different states. As of February 5, 2024, no additional cases had been reported, and the FDA stated that it has no indication that this issue extends beyond these recalled products nor has it received any confirmed reports of illnesses or elevated blood lead level adverse events reported for other cinnamon-containing products or cinnamon. Confirmed complainants, or people for whom a complaint or adverse event was submitted and met FDA’s complainant definition, are between zero and 53 years of age and the median age is one year old.

CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health is conducting case finding efforts in collaboration with state and local health departments. CDC’s case definition for state partners includes a blood lead level of 3.5 µg/dL or higher measured within three months after consuming a recalled WanaBana, Schnucks, or Weis brand fruit puree product after November 2022.


Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Comparing Ceylon and Cassia

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food fraud, cinnamon
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne.

Cinnamon is in high demand worldwide, with Ceylon cinnamon or true cinnamon (Cinnamon verum) the most sought-after and higher priced variety. It is therefore tempting to “cut” Ceylon cinnamon with cheaper cassia cinnamon. Previous detection methods for such adulterations included HPLC testing or DNA barcoding, which was time consuming and could only be applied by experts. New FT-NIR (Fourier transform near-infrared) and FTIR (Fourier transform infrared) spectroscopic methods in combination with multivariate analysis enable quick detection of cinnamon adulteration.


  1. J. Yasmin, M.R. Ahmed, S. Lohumi, C. Wakholi, H. Lee, C. Mo, B.-K. Cho, Corresponding author: chobk@cnu.ac.kr, Quality Assurance and Safety of Crops & Foods: 11 (3)- Pages: 257 – 267 (25 April, 2019). “Rapid authentication measurement of cinnamon powder using FT-NIR and FT-IR spectroscopic techniques”. Retrieved from Wageningen Academic Publishers, wageningenacademic.com