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Freeze-dried blueberries recalled due to potential lead contamination

The voluntary recall covers packages of organic blueberries sold under the brand name Natierra, with expiration dates of December 2022 and January 2025.
Natierra organic freeze-dried blueberries.
Natierra organic freeze-dried

Freeze-dried blueberries harvested in Lithuania are being recalled over fears of lead contamination.

The voluntary recall covers packages of organic freeze-dried blueberries under the brand name Natierra, with best by dates of December 2022 and January 2025, the brand's parent company, BrandStorm Inc., announced via the Food and Drug Administration.

High levels of lead in the blood may not cause visible symptoms for adults, but it can nonetheless harm internal organs and the nervous system.

Lead poisoning is particularly dangerous for children and can cause abdominal pain, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss, among other ailments.

"If a child is exposed to enough lead for a protracted period of time (e.g., weeks to months) permanent damage to the central nervous system can occur," the recall announcement said. "This can result in learning disorders, developmental defects, and other long-term health problems."

The recall notice, published last week, didn't state where the potentially tainted blueberries are sold. But the Natierra brand is sold online and can be found nationwide at many natural food stores and chain stores, including Safeway, Sprouts, H-E-B and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Neither the FDA nor BrandStorm, which is based in Los Angeles, could be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.

No reports of illness have been tied to the blueberries so far. In its recall statement, the company said it "is actively working to enhance food safety system by implementing mandatory batch testing for heavy metal."

The company didn't disclose how lead might have come into contact with the berries. But in past cases of such contamination, lead has usually come from the environment where the food is grown or from the materials or facilities involved in packaging, shipping or processing.

A study published last year analyzed lead concentrations in 370 samples of fruit and vegetable products and found the highest levels in dried items, though blueberries in particular were not included in the research.