Multnomah County Health Officials Urge Caution After FDA Recalls Lead-Contaminated Cinnamon Products

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A Hillsboro Dollar Tree Store in 2014.

Officials say Dollar Tree, which distributes one of the recalled brands, is ‘very aware’ of the voluntary recall and is handling it efficiently.

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No Oregon lead poisoning cases have been reported yet after the FDA issued a warning regarding six lead-contaminated cinnamon products, but health officials have urged members of the public to dispose of the products immediately — and to contact health providers for testing if they have consumed the products.

Earlier this week, the FDA issued a voluntary recall notice for six brands of cinnamon, which were found to contain elevated levels of lead during product testing. The FDA is not directly recalling the products, but has instead asked the companies involved to recall them voluntarily.

The FDA’s warning includes a list of the contaminated brands, as well as the retailers that sell them. One of the brands, Supreme Tradition, is sold at both Family Dollar and Dollar Tree, which operate dozens of stores in Oregon.

Supreme Tradition Brand Cinnamon. Credit: Food and Drug Administration. (FDA)

Another brand, MTCI, is available at SF Foods, which operates a store called Shun Fat Supermarket in southeast Portland. Speaking at a Friday-morning media availability on the recall, Perry Cabot, a senior program specialist at the Multnomah County Health Department, said county officials spoke with the owner of the Portland location and determined that the cinnamon was not available at that location.

Cabot also said Dollar Tree is “very aware” of the recall and is handling it more efficiently than when one of its cinnamon applesauce products faced a recall in November of 2023.

“When we had the applesauce purée issue, there was a little bit more confusion and delay, and so  we were encouraged to hear from Dollar Tree that they were very aware of this issue right away,” Cabot said.

He noted that the elevated lead levels in November’s recall were found to be tied to mixtures commonly added to increase the weight of spice products.

“It’s a pretty distressing phenomenon and one that we hope to see future regulations and future scrutiny of the food coming into our country to prevent these kinds of things from happening,” Cabot said.

Lead poisoning is of particular harm to pregnant people and children, and can lead to low birth weight and miscarriage. Cabot encouraged anyone who may have been exposed to the Supreme Tradition Cinnamon Products to call the Multnomah County Lead Line at 503-988-4000.

“Anybody is welcome to contact the lead line as an initial step and discuss what is going on for them. It is most harmful to very young children and most harmful to a pregnant individual who is carrying a developing fetus and that is vulnerable to toxicity that is passed through the maternal blood,” Cabot said.

Affected customers can also call the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator, fill out an electronic Voluntary MedWatch form online or mail a paper Voluntary MedWatch form to the FDA.