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WESTON, Fla. - A Florida mother posted a warning on Facebook after her teenage daughter, who had a peanut allergy, died after eating a Chewy Chips Ahoy! cookie made with Reese's peanut butter.
WTVJ reported Monday that Alexi Ryann Stafford, 15, was at a friend’s house in Weston, Florida, when she ate a cookie.
According to a Facebook post from her mother, Kelli Travers-Stafford, the incident happened June 25.
“There was an open package of Chips Ahoy cookies,” Travers-Stafford wrote. “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 two epi pens while she was conscious and waited on paramedics for what felt like an eternity.”
Travers-Stafford said her daughter died within 90 minutes of eating the cookie. She ended the post by calling for more prominent food labels and awareness.
“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 mother said.
“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.”
Travers-Stafford declined to be interviewed about the post when contacted by WTVJ and the “Today” show.
“Today” reported that Nabisco's parent company, Mondelez International, issued the following statement:
"We were 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.”
Following the spread of Travers-Stafford’s post, customers commented with concerns on the Chips Ahoy! Facebook page.
“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. (milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans),” the brand said in a comment on Facebook.
“Across our Chips Ahoy! product portfolio, packaging color is indicative of product texture (i.e.,Chewy, Chunky, Original) and is not indicative of the presence of allergens.
The packaging for Chips Ahoy! made with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups prominently indicates, on both the front and side panels, the presence of peanut butter cups through both words and visuals.
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.”