A Florida teen dies of an allergic reaction after she accidentally ate Chips Ahoy cookies with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups mistaking it with the peanut-less brand.
The cookie she ate has a similar packaging with other Chips Ahoy cookies that have no peanuts in them. Apparently, the top flat of the packaging was pulled back that 15-year-old Alexi Ryann Stafford failed to notice the added Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
She died within about 90 minutes of eating a single cookie.
Mom Warns Others With Food Allergies
Alexi's mom, Kellie Travers-Stafford, posted on Facebook to warn others, especially children with food allergies, to be extremely careful with the food they are eating. She now wants everyone to be particularly aware of the similar packaging of the Chips Ahoy without peanuts and the kind with the added Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
In her post, Kellie highlighted that Chips Ahoy has, in fact, different-colored packaging to indicate whether the cookies are chunky, chewy, or regular but had no significant warnings about certain types containing peanuts. She lamented this fact because peanut allergies are already known to be fatal.
Alexi's mistake of eating the "unsafe" Chips Ahoy cookie was particularly heartbreaking for the family because they worked hard to keep Alexi away from peanuts since she was small. In fact, the family had previously identified the kind of Chips Ahoy cookies that were safe for her to eat.
"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," read Kellie's post on Facebook.
"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," the post said.
Kellie said Alexi was at a friend's house when she ate the cookie. Alexi came home immediately after feeling tingling in her mouth. Kellie immediately administered two EpiPens while Alexi was still conscious. However, Alexi's condition deteriorated while they wait for the paramedics to come.
Kellie believed that a small added indication on Chips Ahoy packaging was not enough for people with peanut allergy to be alerted about the fatal implications. In the case of her daughter, the small indication about the added Reese's Peanut Butter Cups was not enough to inform Alexi before it was too late.
Peanut Allergy Among Children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted an increase in the prevalence of food allergy in children by 50 percent between 1997 and 2001. The pervasiveness of peanut or tree nut allergy among children tripled between 1997 and 2008. While children tend to outgrow their food sensitivity, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish are generally lifelong.
The natural tendency among parents is to protect their babies from allergenic foods. However, experts actually recommend introducing babies to peanuts early on to reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy when children get older.