A teenager’s life was tragically cut short when she accidentally ate a Chips Ahoy! cookie containing peanuts, and now her mother is campaigning for the brand’s packaging to be changed in a way that will make it safer for peanut allergy sufferers.
15-year-old Alexi Ryann Stafford, from South Florida, died on June 25. Her mother Kellie Travers-Stafford says she went into anaphylactic shock and died less than two hours after eating the cookie.
Sadly, the teen didn’t realize the Chips Ahoy! cookie she was eating was from a bag containing peanut cookies, because the packaging was the same red color as the “safe” ones she usually ate, according to her mother.
Travers-Stafford says that Alexi began to feel a tingling sensation in her mouth after eating the cookie, so she came home. There, she went into anaphylactic shock and stopped breathing. Her family administered medication, and waited for the paramedics to arrive, but Alexi died within an hour and a half of eating the cookie.
Travers-Stafford wants Chips Ahoy! to change the packaging on cookies that contains potentially life-threatening allergens, such as peanuts. She says that “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.”
A spokesperson for Chips Ahoy! released this statement:
“We were very saddened to hear about this situation, which we first became aware of from social media posts last Friday. 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.”
The spokesperson also said that the brand uses color, labeling and packaging to separate the different cookie flavors and texture, but it isn’t used to indicate the presence of allergens, such as peanuts. Their statement on Twitter says that they take allergens “very seriously”, and that their packaging “clearly shows that it contains peanuts through words and visuals.” They go on to state that “consumers should always read the label for allergy information.”
Of approximately 3.3 million Americans who have nut allergies, around 150 die each year from accidentally coming into contact with nuts.
Peanut allergies are the body’s over-reaction to some proteins found in peanuts. The body’s immune system responds by triggering an antibody, which triggers off other chemicals. This can cause anaphylaxis, which is potentially fatal, by constricting the airways.