Food allergies can be life-threatening — and according to Food Allergy Research & Education, peanut allergies, in particular, seem to be on the rise. A study funded by FARE found in the U.S. alone, the number of children with a peanut allergy tripled between 1997 and 2008 — and similar findings were reported in the U.K. and Canada as well.
The good news is 20% of children with a peanut allergy will eventually outgrow it — and for the remaining 80%, there are plenty of peanut-free options to choose from, no matter what you’re craving. But favorite peanut-free snack foods often have peanut-flavored products that look very similar in packaging, so it’s important to be aware.
Here are the peanut-flavored snack foods that look very much like the peanut-free version of the same product.
1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Chips Ahoy
Tweet regarding a 15-year-old who died after eating Peanut Butter Chips Ahoy cookies | TODAY via Twitter
The packaging for Nabisco’s Chips Ahoy cookies is typically pretty clear — but the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cookie packaging wasn’t stated clearly enough for one 15-year-old girl with a peanut allergy. People reports Kellie Travers-Stafford wrote on Facebook regarding her daughter, Alexi, who ate one of these Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cookies on June 25. Alexi saw the red packaging of the product and assumed it was OK to eat — but she didn’t see the label in the corner indicating there was peanut butter inside.
As Travers-Stafford wrote, “She ate one cookie of chewy Chips Ahoy thinking it was safe because of the ‘red’ packaging, only to find out too late that there was an added ingredient…. Reese peanut butter cups/chips.” Alexi later died from anaphylactic shock.
2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Oreos
Nabisco’s known for making crazily flavored Oreos, so it may be easy for a child (or even an adult) to accidentally grab a sandwich cookie containing peanut butter. People reports Oreo came out with a new flavor on June 4, too — Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. And while the cookie itself looks different than the traditional chocolate wafer with cream filling, you may not suspect this cookie contains peanuts upon first glance.
Also, the package itself is still the same blue as everyone knows and loves. If multiple packages of Oreos are out on a table, there could be an accident.
3. Peanut Butter Twix
Twix Peanut Butter candy bars | iOZKR via Twitter
Twix lovers rejoiced when Mars brought Peanut Butter Twix after initially being discontinued. And though they may be hard to find in stores, fans reported there are plenty on Amazon — though you may have to purchase the beloved candy in bulk. Regardless, if you haven’t had a Twix of any variety in awhile, you should know that when first taking a peek, the two packages look quite similar.
The traditional caramel Twix bars are wrapped in gold and the nutty version are sold in red, this is true. But the Peanut Butter Twix wrapper still has the “Twix” logo over gold, which, upon first glance, can be deceiving. The “Twix” logo is also much bigger than the “creamy peanut butter” text, too, so always double-check if you’re allergic.
4. Peanut Butter M&Ms
Like Oreos, M&Ms are another sweet product with many different variations — and just about anyone could get them accidentally confused. Most of us can easily identify Peanut M&Ms, as they’re in the iconic yellow packaging. But Peanut Butter M&Ms are a slightly newer and less recognizable color at first, as they’re packaged in a red-orange wrapper. Plus, when taken out of the bag, they look exactly like many different other types of M&Ms, which could be deadly for some.
If you’re allergic to peanut butter, definitely familiarize yourself well with the different colored packaging — and always ask the flavor before accepting M&Ms from others.
5. Keebler’s Cheese & Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers
You probably remember these from years past. Keebler’s sandwich crackers are a snacktime favorite for kids and adults alike — but if you know someone close to you who has a peanut allergy (or perhaps you have one yourself), you’ll want to note how similar the Cheese & Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers look to the Cheese & Cheddar ones.
The cheese crackers cover most of the filling here, thus making the two types of sandwich crackers look very similar at first. Plus, there’s no difference in text type between the two products, either. If you aren’t paying attention, it can be easy to bite into the peanut butter-filled cracker when you mean to go for the cheese one.
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