Are Peanut Butter Cheerios a Bad Idea?

Peanut butter and Cheerios are two kid favorites, but some parents don’t think they belong together. In a recent interview Gina Clowes, founder of Allergy Moms, said that some parents are opposed to the new Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter cereal, because they are worried that the popular toddler snack could accidentally fall into the hands of a peanut-allergic child. Although there’s an allergy warning on the box, it’s difficult to see the difference between peanut butter Cheerios and regular Cheerios.

“It has become the norm to have toddlers walking around with bags of cereal to snack on,” she told the The Washington 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.”

My child doesn’t appear to be allergic to peanuts, but I can absolutely sympathize with Clowes and the other moms of the estimated 8 percent of American children who have food allergies. Peanut allergies terrify me–so much so that Mason only recently tried peanut butter because my mother-in-law accidentally gave it to him. Last week’s horrible story about Ammaria Johnson, the 7-year-old Virginia girl who died at school of an anaphylactic reaction, suspected to be caused by peanuts, still haunts me.

What’s the best solution here? I’m torn. I don’t think it’s right to boycott peanut-butter containing snacks, but I know first-hand how easy it is for peanut-containing snacks to get into schools. Mason’s daycare is a “peanut-free zone”–there are signs posted everywhere–yet parents still bring peanut butter treats into their child’s classroom. And every time we have a play date Mason and his little buddies delight in sharing snacks.

What do you think? Should parents boycott peanut-butter containing snacks? Should schools come up with stricter rules about what foods can and cannot be brought into schools? Or is it up to parents to manage what their kids eat?

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4 thoughts on “Are Peanut Butter Cheerios a Bad Idea?

  1. I don’t know if it is necessarily a “bad” idea… I only know my initial reaction when I first saw them in the store. I remember thinking “Have they spent NO time in the schools lately??” Nearly every class has some list of foods that can’t be brought in because a child (or several) is allergic to them, and peanuts top the list. Getting snacks or bringing in a birthday treat has become like a carefully orchestrated dance through a minefield. I did not think now was the right time to debut Peanut Cheerios, and it is hard to market them differently.

  2. I actually got these and they are amazing. I don’t think they’re necessarily marketed to kids. My daughter is too young to even be close to thinking about peanut butter, but if she does have a peanut allergy, I would be aware but not expect everyone else to change their lives because of it.

  3. No one chooses to have a child with allergies, of course, particularly such a severe reaction that eating one Cheerio could kill them. But to express any kind of anger over a company’s decision to make peanut butter cereal is a bit much. Ultimately, it has to be the parents who make sure their child does not come into contact with peanuts. And it seems like, not always but often enough, that the more severe the allergy, the more responsibility is placed on everyone else when it should be the other way around. To just EXPECT that the 99 or so percent of the population without peanut allergies will change their lives–that schools will change their cafeteria menu so that no food that has ever been near peanuts can be served, that other parents will shop for their children’s lunches as though they too have a peanut allergy, that other kids won’t bring in a lunch or snack that has or has been near peanuts purposely or accidentally, that companies won’t make their food in peanut butter flavor–is completely unrealistic. If I had a child with a serious allergy, I would never send him somewhere I couldn’t reasonably expect everyone to accommodate his needs, nor would I want any other parent to feel like my child’s life is in their hands…that’s my job!

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