Kellie Travers-Stafford has experienced an event no parent should. She lost a child. Her 15-year-old daughter, Alexi died after eating what she believed to be a chocolate Chips Ahoy cookie without nuts.
While at a friend’s house on June 25th, the teen, who has a severe allergy to peanuts, glimpsed the familiar red package she knew to be Nabisco’s plain chocolate chip cookies without peanuts. The tab was up, and Alexi took a cookie and ate it, assuming it was safe.
Her choice turned out to be fatal. She actually consumed a chewy Chips Ahoy with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The young woman didn’t observe the subtle differences in the similar packaging of the cookies.
Alexi started feeling tingling in her mouth. She rushed home where her symptoms worsened. She began to go into anaphylactic shock. While they waited for emergency responders, her parents administered two EpiPen Auto-Injectors. Alexi lost consciousness and even stopped breathing.
It only took 90 minutes from the time she ate the cookie until she died. “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 grieving mother wrote.
She continued, “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.
“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.”
Kellie shared her post to create awareness of food allergies in the hopes Nabisco will consider making the necessary changes to ensure this never happens again.
She did receive support, but many said her daughter got what she deserved.
According to Robyn Charron on JenniferMargulis.net, every 20th comment on Travers-Stafford’s post put the blame on her teenage daughter.
Nabisco wasn’t showing her much sympathy either.
They wrote on social media: “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.”
Twitter user, Keren Deberg, responded with a picture of the different packaging the brand claims “clearly shows” that certain products contain peanuts.
— keren deberg (@KerenDeberg) 13 juillet 2018
“That is not clear at all!! I agree we should all read labels but your customers include children and you should be smarter and care more about their safety. Take a look at this picture. It is not very clear. After what happened in Florida, what are you going to do about it?”
Those who showed Kellie little kindness during this especially difficult time, must not know what it’s like living with an allergy. Her daughter’s death was a tragic accident. It shouldn’t have happened. What if you had a child with an allergy? Should Nabisco better distinguish between these two different types of sweet treats*?