Cheerios has introduced a new peanut butter flavor and it isn’t sitting well with food allergy families. In fact, for the last few days the food allergy community has been burning up facebook pages and blogs in reaction to Cheerios’ latest news.
I was doing some research on Cheerios web page and found the following statement on their facebook page.
“Attention fans: Food allergies are a serious issue, and that’s why we employ the most stringent allergen control practices in the industry. We can say with complete confidence that Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter will not cross-contaminate other Cheerios varieties. Providing safe food products to all our consumers, including those affected by food allergies, remains our highest priority. We have maintained stringent and effective allergen protocols for decades across all our products, including our cereals that contain nuts.”
While this qualifying statement is putting some individuals at ease, it seems to be increasing unease for others that are concerned that cross-contamination cannot be safely avoided.
Although Cheerios is vowing to keep “stringent and effective allergen protocols” in place to avoid cross-contamination, my fear is that a two-year-old who is used to eating plain Cheerios won’t notice that his playmate’s Cheerios are peanut butter flavored. That’s a lot of responsibility for a child who can’t read or advocate for himself…and it’s a lot of responsibility for caregivers at child care and school who feed children parent-packed snacks that may not be labeled with the specific flavor of Cheerios their child is eating.
Now think of the age of the children who usually eat Cheerios. They eat with their h
ands that they then drool on and touch things with…and the allergen has now been transferred to whatever the child touched.
I have to say, my heart is more than a little heavy that Cheerios would consider introducing a peanut butter flavored cereal at a time when it is estimated that out of every thirteen U.S. children have at least one food allergy.
What are your thoughts? How will the new peanut butter flavored Cheerios affect your family’s policy on eating Cheerios?