New peanut butter Cheerios triggers anger from parents
New peanut butter Cheerios triggers anger from parentsPublished
Cheerios has just launched a new flavor — peanut butter — and the reaction in some homes has not been what the company might have expected.
“People are very upset about it,” said Gina Clowes, founder of Allergy Moms, a national support group.
“I know some allergy families that currently buy Cheerios are vowing not to buy them at all for fear of cross contact while processing and to avoid confusion in their own homes.”
It seems that although the new flavor’s box makes it clear that these are a new kind of Cheerios, the cereal itself is hard to distinguish from the original. This issue is especially troubling to parents because Cheerios are so often carted in baggies by toddlers who share them freely.
“It has become the norm to have toddlers walking around with bags of cereal to snack on,” Clowes said. “Toddlers are notoriously messy eaters. It [would] be difficult to distinguish this variety from ones that are ‘safe’ and one misplaced peanut butter Cheerio can cause a serious reaction.”
I called the Cheerios media relations staff and am awaiting a reply.
Many parents who do not have an allergy-suffering child might roll their eyes at the concern. But allergies can be terribly severe.
Just last week, a Virginia first-grader died after a friend shared a peanut with her on the playground.
A well-regarded national study published in the journal Pediatrics this past summer estimated that 8 percent of children — that’s 5.9 million kids — suffer from food allergies.
The report also found that close to 40 percent of those children suffer severe reactions.
Though it remains unclear why the food allergies have spread and intensified in recent years, any parent of an allergy-sufferer knows that weathering a child’s food sensitivities is frightening terrain.
Given the modern ubiquity of allergies, do manufacturers of children’s food have an extra responsibility to be sensitive to food allergies?
If so, how?