Kellie Travers-Stafford says her 15-year-old daughter Alexi Ryann Stafford, who had a severe peanut allergy, made a "fatal choice" by snacking from an open package of Chips Ahoy! Cookies at a friend's house on June 25.
"The top flap of the package was pulled back and the packaging was too similar to what we had previously deemed 'safe' to her," Travers-Stafford, who lives in Weston, Florida, wrote on Facebook last week. "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."
The teen came straight home after feeling tingling in her mouth, according to Travers-Stafford. But her condition rapidly deteriorated.
"She went into Anaphylactic shock, stopped breathing and went unconscious," writes Travers-Stafford. "We administered 2 epi pens while she was conscious and waited on paramedics for what felt like an eternity."
Alexi died within 90 minutes 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," says the mom. "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."
A funeral service was held for Alexi on July 2. A GoFundMe page remembers her as, "a kind, old soul – Alexi overcame extraordinary challenges throughout the last couple of years; yet her incredible strength, determination, and support of her family created the confidence for Alexi to feel comfortable with herself and excited for the future ahead of her."
Travers-Stafford did not immediately return Delish.com's request for comment.
Chips Ahoy! said in a Tweet Sunday that they 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," they wrote on Twitter. "Package color indicates Chewy, Chunky, or Original. Consumers should always read the label for allergy information."
In a statement to Today, Chips Ahoy! Cookies' parent company, Mondelez International, said, "We are very saddened to hear about this situation. 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."
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 15, 2018
Travers-Stafford claims 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."
Now, she's warning others with food allergies to be vigilant about food packaging. "It’s important to us to spread awareness so that this horrible mistake doesn’t happen again."
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