A family is grieving in Florida after the death of 15-year-old Alexi Stafford, who, while at a slumber party, didn't notice the "made with peanuts" label on a box of Chips Ahoy cookies and suffered an allergic reaction. Now, her mother is calling on manufacturers to make peanut labels larger and more prominent on food product packaging.
Kellie Travers-Stafford posted the story of her daughter's passing on Facebook:
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.
Kellie wonders what could have saved her daughter:
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.
#nabiscoshameonyou!! All you allergy Moms retweet this...Nabisco needs to step up and change their packaging after… https://t.co/pMPtyyXgPc— NC Mommy (@NC Mommy)1531882044.0
Despite diligent teaching and a constant effort to avoid peanuts, Alexi's failure to notice a small label in the upper corner of a box of cookies made all the difference. Less than two hours later, she was dead. Perhaps, Travers-Stafford said, steps should be taken to stop this from happening again.
Many on Twitter seem to think so:
In the wake of the Alexi Ryann Stafford tragedy and in an abundance of caution, we are removing listings of all var… https://t.co/3o0jJgdNDD— SnackSafely.com (@SnackSafely.com)1531836389.0
So sad! #peanutallergy alert: cookies' packaging is almost identical for TWO kinds of these Chis Ahoy chocolate chi… https://t.co/K1yPHGzIVm— Sally Ember, Ed.D. (@Sally Ember, Ed.D.)1531828756.0
Man. Life is so fragile and precious. RIP Alexi Stafford 🙏🏽 https://t.co/chJSekzlej— LakeShow_LABron_ (@LakeShow_LABron_)1531804271.0
Chips Ahoy! responded with a tweet:
@KerenDeberg @nabisco @FoodAllergy @AllergicLiving We take allergens very seriously. Chewy Chips Ahoy! made w/ Rees… https://t.co/Uq4ZB20MZh— Chips Ahoy! (@Chips Ahoy!)1531580835.0
Some people were not impressed by the company's reaction:
@ChipsAhoy @KerenDeberg @nabisco @FoodAllergy @AllergicLiving You can do better to help our children @ChipsAhoy #disappointed— Susan Kelly, BSN, RN (@Susan Kelly, BSN, RN)1531598925.0
@MDLZ VERY DISAPPOINTING RESPONSE to #AlexiStafford #allergy death. Those @ChipsAhoy #packages look exactly the sam… https://t.co/KiDuvWwM2e— Erin Wolford (@Erin Wolford)1531851513.0
Go ahead and keep copy and pasting the same tweet, @ChipsAhoy. Clearly you fail to understand how Alexi Ryann Staff… https://t.co/fN1AV8Jo4H— jaden 🌴 (@jaden 🌴)1531863920.0
While others think they made a bit of a point:
that we need to check every label, every time--but whatever you do, don't go and say that to the family. They've be… https://t.co/8jgidWDexi— Allergy Superheroes (@Allergy Superheroes)1531765738.0
A woman's teenage daughter died of a peanut allergy because she ate Chips Ahoy cookies at a friends, without lookin… https://t.co/A629O4XdJm— Molly 🖤 (@Molly 🖤)1531536425.0
A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help Alexi's family with funeral expenses. Rest in peace, Alexi.