Peanut Butter Cheerios Raises Allergy Worries for Parents 29435

A new "peanut butter" flavor of the Cheerios cereal brand, a favorite with kids, has upset many parents of children with food allergies.  The Washington Post reports that at least one national allergy support group for parents, Allergy Moms, is raising the alarm, arguing that children may inadvertently share the snack with a peanut-allergic child.

"It has become the norm to have toddlers walking around with bags of cereal to snack on," [Allergy Moms founder Gina] Clowes told the Post. "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."

On the Cheerios website, the new product, which is multi-grain and low in calories, is described as a way to "indulge in real peanut butter taste without derailing your diet."  A warning on the page also states, "Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter contains peanuts. Cheerios has a commitment to allergen management. We can say with complete confidence that Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter will not cross-contaminate other Cheerios varieties.  As always, if you're concerned about allergies, we highly recommend that you always consult the allergen listing and the ingredient label on any product you may consume."

Last week, a 7-year-old Virginia girl died at school, with exposure to peanut products the suspected cause.  An estimated 8 percent of American children live with some sort of food allergy.