Girl With Peanut Allergy Ate Cookie She Thought Was "Safe" For Her. Now, Her Mom Raises Awareness
Peanuts are the most common food allergens that can cause anaphylaxis, an extremely severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical treatment, like an injection of epinephrine. The best way to protect yourself from potentially fatal scenarios if you are allergic to peanuts is to avoid any products containing peanuts or peanut-related components. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to do even for adults, and not to mention, for children.
She thought it was the same package of the "safe" cookies
Kellie Travers-Stafford and Michael Stafford devoted their whole lives to protect their daughter, Alexi Ryann Stafford, from just one ingredient – peanuts. However, a month ago, while Alexi was at her friend’s house, the parents couldn’t prevent their daughter’s fatal mistake. The 15-year-old girl decided to treat herself with Chips Ahoy cookies, the package looked almost exactly the same as the ones her parents had deemed safe for her.
Alexi ate just one little cookie. That was enough to launch a severe allergic reaction. As we can see from the photos, the two different packages obviously look almost identical. However, the one contains peanuts, whereas the other does not, which is mention only by the little indication on the top flap of the package. Kellie says:
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.
Alexi started experiencing the symptoms and quickly returned home. But her condition deteriorated extremely fast. The parents administrated 2 EpiPens and prayed for the paramedics to arrive fast enough to save their child. Unfortunately, Alexi died within an hour and a half after she ate the deadly cookie of anaphylactic shock.
Should familiar packaging be banned?
Kellie is absolutely devastated and angry at the same time, as her daughter knew her limits and always cared for what she may and may not ingest:
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. 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 is extremely important to raise awareness about such insolent companies that do not advert to the dangerous ingredients of their products. We have to not only instruct our children to read labels carefully but also warn them about familiar packaging that can lead to horrible tragedies.
The federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires every manufacturer to list “peanut” clearly on the ingredient label. Maybe, it has to be updated so that the packaging should not be familiar?! The misleading packaging killed 15-year-old Alexi, so her parents are doing everything to raise awareness about their tragedy to prevent any similar scenarios from happening!