peanutbutter-cheeriosCheerios are the most popular cereal in my house. Being the parent of a two-year-old boy with food allergies, we take them everywhere. We welcome seeing them when we travel, and have never really worried about them before, until now. General Mills, the parent company behind Cheerios has introduced a new flavor, peanut butter.

At first I thought, ‘make a mental note, do not buy these, inform hubby in all situations to stick with the yellow box as opposed to the multi-grain variety we’ve been buying’.

An Eye Opener

Last week after a talk with a new childcare provider at my gym, when informing her about my son’s food allergies and reading of the death of a little girl in Virginia from a peanut allergy, my concern grew. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “Just so you know, E is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and shellfish (he can now have soy!). I have his Epi-Pen, but please watch to ensure he doesn’t get into any other kids treats or drinks.”

Caregiver: “Don’t worry, about the only snacks we ever have in here are Cheerios.”

I was relieved, but then, thought, ‘Ok, but WHAT KIND of Cheerios? How do you tell them apart? What if they are the new Peanut Butter kind?’

New Flavor Has Many Concerned

I’m not the only parent concerned. I read a blog from ABC citing two of my new favorite allergy parent websites who are worried about this, and there are several others. In a statement from General Mills, the company offered the following:

Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter contains PEANUTS. Cheerios has a commitment to allergen management. We can say with complete confidence that Multi Grain Peanut Butter Cheerios will not cross-contaminate other Cheerios varieties.

Currently, Honey Nut Cheerios, Banana Nut Cheerios, and Oat Cluster Cheerios Crunch contain ALMONDS. Only Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter contains PEANUTS.

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.

Statement Does Little to Alleviate Fears

Parents of children with food allergies are label readers, EACH AND EVERY TIME we buy something. We understand that ingredients change. It is the things out of our control, like the possible peanut butter cheerios at the gym daycare that have us worried.

Perhaps at this time, we can learn from one another. Parents of children with tree nut allergies have dealt with this issue in the past. So I ask you, what is your advice for parents of children with peanut allergies in this situation? Your input can help alleviate some fears and maybe save a life.

Photo courtesy General Mills

Renee Yarborough is the mom of a beautiful daughter and a toddler son with food allergies. She works from a home office as a freelance marketer and consultant. When not chasing around her children, she enjoys reading, knitting, running and eating her husband’s cooking. Follow her on Twitter at @reneeyaborough