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 an ordinary chocolate cookie.
In a heartbreaking Facebook post, Kellie described the events that led to the death of her 15-year-old daughter.
Alexi was severely allergic to peanuts and so her parents had focused their entire lives on ensuring she never came into contact with them.
Kellie and her husband had worked effortlessly to ensure their daughter was never at risk.
Tragically, that changed on the evening of June 25, 2018, when Alexi went to a friend’s house.
Whilst there, the teen reached for what she thought was a simple chocolate chip cookie: A chewy Chips Ahoy.
Having seen the product before, Alexi knew that the original chewy Chips Ahoy did not contain peanuts. The tab was up, and Alexi took a cookie and ate it, assuming it was safe.
But her choice turned out to be fatal.
What Alexi didn’t know was that the cookies were made with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – the packaging was so similar to the one she’d seen before that she failed to notice the subtle differences that spoke for the presence of peanuts inside.
Alexi didn’t observe the subtle differences in the similar packaging of the cookies.
When the young girl felt a tingling in her mouth, she headed home. However, her symptoms worsened quickly and she soon went into anaphylactic shock.
Her parents administered two EpiPen Auto-Injectors whilst they waited for the paramedics to arrive, but they proved to be of little use. Alexi slipped into unconsciousness and 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.
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 also hopes that parents who have children with similar allergies can take the necessary precautions and product manufacturers can improve their designs to make things more clear.
But not everyone agreed with Kellie’s stance that Chips Ahoy, and the Nabisco brand as a whole, should take a portion of blame.
Some claimed that the 15-year-old should have been more thorough with her check, whilst others went as far as to brand her death ‘natural selection’.
Nabisco wasn’t showing her much sympathy either.
“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”, they wrote on social media.
Twitter user, Keren Deberg, responded with a picture of the different packaging the brand claims “clearly shows” that certain products contain peanuts.
“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?”
After such a tragic accident, it’s important that we help to spread Kellie’s word in the hope of preventing similar circumstances playing out in the future.
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?
If you believe companies should brand their products with more clarity, share this story with your family and friends on Facebook.