WESTON, Fla. — A Florida teen who had a peanut allergy died after unknowingly eating a cookie with peanut butter, and the teen’s mom says Chips Ahoy’s packaging is to blame.
Kellie Traver-Stafford posted on Facebook Thursday that her daughter, Alexi, was at a friend’s home in June when she ate the cookie.
Traver-Stafford wrote, “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.”
Alexi thought the cookie was safe due to the red packaging, which is also used for the regular chewy chocolate chip cookies, her mother said. With the top flap of the packaging pulled back, the teen didn’t see that the cookie had an added ingredient — Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup chunks.
“She started feeling tingling in her mouth and came straight home. Her condition rapidly deteriorated,” Traver-Stafford wrote. “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.”
Traver-Stafford said her daughter died within an hour and a half of eating the cookie.
The mother said she feels like Chips Ahoy’s packaging did not do enough to indicate there were peanut products in the cookies.
She wrote, “… I feel lost and angry because she knew her limits and was aware of familiar packaging, she knew what ‘safe’ was.”
Now, Traver-Stafford is trying to spread awareness so the mistake doesn’t happen again.
When people began commenting on the official Chips Ahoy Facebook page about the teen’s death, the company posted this statement:
“We take allergies very seriously and all of our products are clearly labeled on the information panel of the packaging for the major food allergens in the U.S. (milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans).
“Across our Chips Ahoy! product portfolio, packaging color is indicative of product texture (i.e.,Chewy, Chunky, Original) and is not indicative of the presence of allergens.
“The packaging for Chips Ahoy! made with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups prominently indicates, on both the front and side panels, the presence of peanut butter cups through both words and visuals.
“We always encourage consumers to read the packaging labeling when purchasing and consuming any of our products for information about product ingredients, including presence of allergens.”