Having a child with a food allergy can make class parties and schoolyard snack-trades a source of big-time anxiety. Now General Mills has introduced Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter, a peanut-flavored version of the toddler-favorite cereal. The new product has parents of children with peanut allergies wondering what this could mean for their kids’ health, reports ABC News.
Parents have voiced worries that allergy-free playmates could unsuspectingly share the go-to snack food with their children, causing a potentially dangerous allergic reaction. The death of seven-year-old Ammaria Johnson, who suffered an allergic reaction during recess last week, has exacerbated the anxiety over the new Cheerios. According to ABC News, Ammaria was given a peanut by another child.
Another point of concern is the potential of cross-contamination at the facilities manufacturing both the traditional Cheerios and the Peanut Butter variety. In a statement, General Mills said that they had “complete confidence” that cross-contamination would not happen. “General Mills employs the most stringent allergen control practices in the industry,” the company said.
General Mills has also been criticized for making the Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter box look very similar to the plain Cheerios, making it difficult for parents to distinguish between them at the supermarket. The company defended their packaging in their statement, saying:
“The food industry and the allergen-sensitive community have worked together diligently to educate consumers that allergens are best identified on product labeling. That’s why we’ve made it a top priority to ensure that our packaging and labeling clearly communicate what’s inside the box.”
Do you have a child with a nut allergy? Do you think GM should take this cereal off shelves?