There are many difficulties we may face in life but losing a child is something that no parent should have to endure. We can never fully prepare ourselves for the grieving process and the way that we will feel for the rest of our lives. It is even worse when it is a preventable death.
Kellie Travers-Stafford and Michael, her husband, are all too familiar with this issue. Their 15-year-old daughter, Alexi Ryann died without any warning after eating a Chips Ahoy cookie. She didn’t know that she was eating a cookie with peanut butter inside of it and she had a deathly allergic reaction to peanuts.
She ate the cookie without looking closely at the bag. It had a red color and matched the cookie bags that she usually ate from. It is unfortunate that she didn’t see the warning in the corner, “Made with Reese’s.”
Within an hour and a half after eating the cookie, Alexi had died. Her mother is now warning parents of children who also have allergies to make doubly sure that everything on the packaging is read. That is true, even if it looks the same as what you would usually purchase.
“Our hearts are broken and we are still in shock. Our whole lives we dedicated to keeping our child safe from one ingredient, peanuts.
On Monday June 25, our 15 year old daughter, Alexi Ryann Stafford, while at a friends house, made a fatal choice. There was an open package of Chips Ahoy cookies, the top flap of the package was pulled back and the packaging was too similar to what we had previously deemed “safe” to her.
She ate one cookie of chewy Chips Ahoy thinking it was safe because of the “red” packaging, only to find out too late that there was an added ingredient…. Reese peanut butter cups/chips.
She started feeling tingling in her mouth and came straight home. Her condition rapidly deteriorated. She went into Anaphylactic shock, stopped breathing and went unconscious. We administered 2 epi pens while she was conscious and waited on paramedics for what felt like an eternity.
She died within 1& 1/2 hour of eating the cookie. As a mother who diligently taught her the ropes of what was okay to ingest and what was not, I feel lost and angry because she knew her limits and was aware of familiar packaging, she knew what “safe” was.
A small added indication on the pulled back flap on a familiar red package wasn’t enough to call out to her that there was “peanut product” in the cookies before it was too late. I want to share our story with everyone because we want to spread awareness.
The company has different colored packaging to indicate chunky, chewy, or regular but NO screaming warnings about such a fatal ingredient to many people. Especially children. It’s important for us to spread awareness so that this horrible mistake doesn’t happen again.
Our hearts are broken and we are still in shock. Our whole lives we dedicated to keeping our child safe from one…
The post went viral and Chips Ahoy also responded on Twitter.
We take allergens very seriously. Chewy Chips Ahoy! made w/ Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups packaging clearly shows that it contains peanuts through words and visuals. Package color indicates Chewy, Chunky, or Original. Consumers should always read the label for allergy information.
— Chips Ahoy! (@ChipsAhoy) July 16, 2018
The parent company for Nabisco, Mondelez, released an additional statement on the matter.
“We were very saddened to hear about this situation,” Mondelez International said in a statement. “We always encourage consumers to read the packaging labeling when purchasing and consuming any of our products for information about product ingredients, including the presence of allergens.”
They also were quick to point out that “it indicates, on both the front and side panels, the presence of peanut butter cups through both words and visuals.”
It’s sad to think that someone should have died over something as simple as marking a package more clearly. When you have to deal with allergies on a day-to-day basis, however, being extra cautious is always in order.