Please note: On November 28, the Cheerios team called to update us on this situation. You can learn more here, as well as how to report any concerns.
This weekend, we were contacted by families and organizations in the food allergy community, alerting us to potential cross-contamination of Multi Grain Cheerios with peanut products.
A mom of three boys, ages 13, 10 and 9, who lives in Naperville, IL, purchased the box of Multi Grain Cheerios (a General Mills’ product) at a Meijers store in Aurora, IL. The box did not contain multi-grain cheerios, but rather, the new chocolate and peanut butter cheerios. It was her son who discovered it. It is her dad who has the peanut allergy.
She wrote: “We did not notice any tampering with the box. Also, another friend of mine in the neighborhood also said the same thing happened to her. She either bought her box at the Target on Rt 59 in Naperville or at the same Meijer as me.”
I first learned of this new product at the end of September 2017, when Carla Vernon, a mother and the president of Annie’s Homegrown, EPIC Bar and Cascadian Farm of General Mills, first shared a picture on Twitter (@CarlaInspired). I was grateful I’d seen it, as I was able to quickly respond to the families’ concerns. When Carla first shared the image of a peanut product going into the Cheerios product line, I noted it. The number of children with peanut allergy is skyrocketing.
Insurance claims for dangerous reactions to foods like peanuts, eggs and dairy have increased by nearly five times over the past decade. Private insurance claim lines with diagnoses of anaphylactic food reactions rose 377 percent from 2007 to 2016, according to a new report. The report, by FAIR Health, found that peanuts were the most common food specified to cause anaphylaxis, accounting for 26% of the claims.
When I reached out to the mother who purchased the box of Multi Grain Cheerios and shared the post, she was quick to respond. She shared that she purchased the box from Meijer at 808 N. Route 59 Aurora, IL 60504.
When I reached out to Carla Vernon on Twitter, she was also quick to respond, as was @Cheerios on Twitter.
Until the company is able to get to the bottom of the situation and how this chocolate peanut product ended up in a box of Multi Grain Cheerios, please share this post and the images. The mom who purchased the Multi Grain Cheerios has a father who is peanut allergic. He is lucky to have such a attentive daughter. Until there is a cure for food and peanut allergies, it is up to us and the food companies that feed our families to be constantly vigilant.
Coincidentally, Cheerios’ has a campaign right now with Ellen to share your act of good, because #GoodGoesRound. The food allergy community as a whole personifies this, taking care of each other. I can’t think of anything more important than saving a life. Please share this.
UPDATE: Cheerios responded: “We were very concerned when we first heard of your report, so we appreciate that you took the time to message us. This is very unusual, because this box of cereal was packed months before we started producing Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios. We also do not make or package Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios in the facility that this box of Multigrain Cheerios was packaged… we have begun a report for you and our team has already begun investigating.”
And please always report food allergy concerns to the FDA.