Checking Those Deliveries! Lead in Cinnamon

The health effects of cooking with cinnamon are well known. So, it comes as a shock when the US Food and Drug Administration announces a recall of lead-tainted cinnamon products. While there are naturally occurring environmental sources of lead which enter the cinnamon bark through the soil, lead chromate can be illegally added to certain spices to increase their weight, enhance their color, and increase the monetary value. It drives home a familiar theme, be aware of your suppliers and check them carefully! (Some suppliers, for instance, do not purchase ground cinnamon but process the cinnamon bark themselves).

A survey arising from an applesauce recall in October of 2023, six cinnamon products were tested for lead content by the FDA, with results ranging from 2.03 to between 3 and 4 parts per million. (For the exact details, please read the complete FDA recall notice at this link):

• These levels are far above the New York health standard of 1.0 ppm for cinnamon but much
lower than the lead levels associated with the ongoing investigation into ground cinnamon
from Ecuador supplied by Negasmart to Austrofoods, the manufacturer of the apple puree and
applesauce products, which were between 2,270 ppm to 5,110 ppm in the cinnamon.
• Cinnamon products have a long shelf life. The recall notice lists the lot numbers.
• The advisory states the best recourse is to discard the product.