Losing a child is a parent's worst nightmare. There is nothing that can prepare you for the hurt and sorrow you will be struck with. And when the death is preventable? It's even more tragedy.
Kellie Travers-Stafford and her husband Michael know about this tragedy all too well, as their 15-year-old daughter Alexi Ryann died unexpectedly after eating a Chips Ahoy cookie. Unbeknownst to Alexi, the cookie she consumed had Reese's peanut butter morsels in it, something she was deathly allergic to.
The young teen didn't think to look at the bag, as the red color matched the ones she normally ate all the time. Unfortunately, she did not see the "Made With Reese's" warning in the corner.
Within 90 minutes of eating the cookie, Alexi lost her life. Now, her mother is warning parents of kids with allergies to make sure they read everything, even if the packaging looks the same.
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 to us to spread awareness so that this horrible mistake doesn't happen again.
The post has gone completely viral, and the Chips Ahoy Twitter posted a response.
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
In addition to the tweet, Mondelez International, Nabisco's parent company, released a 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 presence of allergens."
They also pointed out that the packaging "prominently indicates, on both the front and side panels, the presence of peanut butter cups through both words and visuals."
It's horrible to think that something so easy as clearly marker packages could be the difference between life and death, but that's what those living with serious allergies deal with every day.
Do you think Chips Ahoy (and other brands) should change the packaging of products that contain peanuts?