Food & Drink

The teen ate a Chips Ahoy! cookie at a friend’s house. 90 minutes later, she was dead.

Alexi Stafford
Alexi Stafford

Friday’s cautionary Facebook post by a Weston mother after her peanut allergic teen daughter died from eating a Chips Ahoy! cookie provided a window into seemingly casual actions that can be perilous for food allergy sufferers.

It also put Nabisco, the makers of the popular cookie, on the defensive regarding its packaging before the worldwide food allergy community.

According to Kellie Travers-Stafford’s post, 15-year-old Alexi Ryann Stafford ate a cookie from an open, red Chips Ahoy! package at a friend’s house on June 25. She saw the red packaging and thought she was munching a safe, Chewy Chips Ahoy! What she didn’t see, under the turned back flap, was the Reese’s logo, identifying this kind of Chips Ahoy! as containing peanut butter.

Two Epi Pen injections and an hour and a half later, the Cypress Bay High School student was dead. She was buried on July 2.

“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,” Travers-Stafford’s post says. “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.”

A few times every week, food companies voluntarily recall products with undeclared allergens out of safety concerns and a fear of where Nabisco is now — having a product linked to a food allergy death, especially the death of a child.

Here’s how the company replied to each Tweet about their packaging:

“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.”

That response hasn’t endeared the cookie to the food allergy crowd.