Teen Dies of Peanut Allergy After Unknowingly Eating Reese's Chips Ahoy! Cookie

A Florida mother is calling on Chips Ahoy to change their packaging after her daughter died after she unknowingly ate a Chewy Chips Ahoy! cookie made with Reese's peanut butter.

Kelli Travers-Stafford is warning others about the potential danger of certain packaging after her 15-year-old daughter, Alexi Ryann Stafford, who suffered from a peanut allergy, accidentally ate a Chewy Chips Ahoy! Cookie while at her friend’s house, believing that the red packaging meant it was the original chocolate chip variety and did not contain 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,” Travers-Stafford wrote on Facebook. “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.”

After experiencing a “tingling” sensation in her mouth, Alexi rushed home, where her condition began to worsen despite being administered two EpiPens while waiting for paramedics to arrive. Alexi went into anaphylactic shock, stopped breathing, and went unconscious, dying “within 1& 1/2 hour of eating the cookie,” according to her mother.

Now, Travers-Stafford is hoping to prevent Alexi’s story from being somebody else’s story, urging Chips Ahoy to make the necessary changes in their packaging to prevent somebody else from making the easy, and potentially deadly, mistake.

“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,” she wrote.

Chips Ahoy has since responded to the concerns of Travers-Stafford and many others.

“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. … Across our Chips Ahoy! portfolio, packaging color is a cue for product texture (i.e., Chewy, Chunky, Original) and is not indicative of the presence of allergens,” the company said in a statement on Facebook. “On packaging for Chips Ahoy! made with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, branding and flavor are prominently depicted in both words and visuals on the front and side panels.”

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“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.”

While the packaging of the Chips Ahoy cookies that Alexi had eaten did contain a label in the corner reading “made with Reese’s peanut butter cups” and featured small icons of the candy, the red packaging is nearly identical and contains similar graphics to the regular chewy Chips Ahoy version.