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FDA Issues Cinnamon Warning, Urges Spice Recalls Over Lead Levels

Contaminated brands sold at Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Save A Lot, among others

spinner image Bowl of Cinnamon
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Due to concerns over elevated lead levels in ground cinnamon, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent letters to cinnamon manufacturers March 6 stressing the need to prevent contamination from chemical hazards. Makers of six brands were urged to recall their products because the cinnamon may be tainted.

Following an outbreak of lead and chromium poisoning linked to cinnamon applesauce pouches, the agency tested 75 samples of ground cinnamon products and found six contained lead. FDA asked those manufacturers to issue a voluntary recall.

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The amount of lead in the products ranges from 2.12 to 3.4 parts per million, far less than the levels in the recalled cinnamon applesauce, which were between 2,270 and 5,110 ppm. However, prolonged exposure to lead presents risks, the agency said.

spinner image collage of ground cinnamon products that were recalled in march twenty twenty four for possible lead contamination

Cinnamon products with lead

The FDA requested that all six companies recall their products. However, it was unable to reach MTCI of Santa Fe Springs, California, the manufacturer of MK. 

These brands, sold at the named retailers, were found by the FDA to be contaminated with lead; some products have since been recalled:

  • La Fiesta, sold at La Superior and SuperMercados with lot code 25033
  • Marcum and Supreme Tradition, sold at Save A Lot, were recalled. See the recall notice for additional details.
  • MK, sold at SF Supermarket, no lot codes or best-by dates were provided
  • Swad, sold at Patel Brothers with lot code KX21223
  • Supreme Tradition, sold at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar with these best-by dates: 09/29/25 09E8, 04/17/25 04E11, 12/19/25 12C2, 04/12/25 04ECB12, 08/24/25 08A_ _, 04/21/25 04E5, 04/21/25 04E5 and 2025-09-22 09E20 (Missouri)
  • El Chilar, sold at La Joya Morelense in Baltimore with lot codes F275EX1026 and D300EX1024. See the recall notice for more information.
  • Swad, sold at Patel Brothers with lot code KX21223.  See the recall notice for more information.

Recommendations for consumers

The FDA is concerned about the extended shelf life of ground cinnamon products found to contain lead. Consumers are encouraged to check their homes and throw out any of the products cited.

If you think you or anyone you know has been exposed to elevated levels of lead in cinnamon, reach out to a health care provider. Most people have no obvious immediate symptoms of lead exposure, the FDA said.

Symptoms of lead poisoning

It can take months for lead to build up in the body and cause lead poisoning. However, even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems, according to Mayo Clinic.

Children younger than 6 are most vulnerable because exposure to the toxin can affect their mental and physical development.

Initial symptoms are difficult to detect and even people who seem healthy may have high blood levels of lead. In adults, signs and symptoms may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Difficulties with memory or concentration
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mood disorders
  • Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women

Editor's note: This story, originally published March 8, 2024, has been updated to reflect the expanded recall.

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