Uh-Oh-Cheerios: Moms Object to Peanut Butter-Flavored Cereal

Some parents are concerned that the new Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter may be too easily confused with the regular 'Os. What do you think?

General Mills recently released a new flavor of Cheerios – but the response hasn't been entirely, well, cheery.

The slightly darker offshoot of the traditional cold cereal oats are difficult to distinguish from normal "O's," some parents say, which increases the possibility of becoming mixed up by young children. 

Controversy reached the pages of the Washington Post this week, and Gina Clowes, founder of the national support group Allergy Moms was quoted as saying that some allergy families will avoid Cheerios all together.

Local parent Cheri Morris, whose son, Jake, 7, suffers from severe peanut allergies, understands the concern.

Even trace amounts of the allergen can cause a reaction, even death, she said, and a well-regarded national study published in the journal Pediatrics this past summer estimated that 8 percent of children — 5.9 million kids — suffer from food allergies.

The report also found that close to 40 percent of those children suffer severe reactions. Just last week, a Virginia girl died of a reaction while playing at school.

The new flavor is carried by local outlets such as , , and .

Morris said that upon learning of the new brand, she called General Mills. "(The company) advised me that they take food allergies very seriously and that that the regular Cheerios are not on the same line as the peanut butter ones," Morris said. "They also assured me that a 'may contain' statement will be visible in instances were there is the possibility of cross contamination."

Morris added that she tries to minimize risk to Jake and his 4-year-old sister by closely monitoring what is brought into the house, as well as by training her children to not eat food she hasn't prescreened by reading the label. 

What do you think? Is the new Cheerios flavor a bad idea, or not?

Mary Duerksen January 14, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Perhaps a variation in packaging that would be a bit more distinctive is a good idea. However I do think that most parents of children with severe food allergies are very cautious about reading labels.
Muriel Versagi January 14, 2012 at 04:32 PM
OK...I'm sure I'll catch a lot of flack for this....but as a Grandma here's a story of 2 boys in my family. Grandson at the ages of 2-3-4 played outside in the dirt, helped Mom plant flowers, got dirty as all get out, washed hands when he came into eat.. Very healthy, no alergies. Little boy, Great nephew, seldom allowed to get really dirty, Mom always at hand with a "sanitizer wipe". colds up the wazoo...tonsills out at age 7, allergies galore.. I don't know, but I always thought it would build up a childs natural imunities if allowed to get "dirty".
TJO January 14, 2012 at 04:55 PM
As someone who suffers from a nut allergy, I get offended when people ask anyone else to make special accomidations for me. IT"S MY RESPONSIBILITY to stay away from nuts, not others to keep them away from me. If you can't have peanut cherios, don't by them.
Linda Brousseau Pelletier January 15, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Muriel...it is people like you that make this allergy so dangerous..this is not the same as building up an immunity to colds or viruses going around..this is an allergy that could kill a person if the food that you are allergic to is eaten..there is no building up an immunity to this...it would be good for you to read up on peanut and other food allergies before anyone makes a comment like you did..my grandson, who is 13 now, has allergies to all nuts, and everyday is a struggle to make sure that the food brought into the house is safe..some companies are better than others at keeping the cross contamination down, but I do believe that unless you have to deal with this problem, you cannot understand the frustration of always having to be aware of everything you put into your mouth..it could very well be the last thing you do if someone gives you something to eat without knowing what it was cooked in or what was added to the ingredients to make it taste so good to the rest of us without allergies..companies are cooking more things in peanut oils and adding nuts where nuts should not be...as a mother and grandmother, we have had to educate our child to never take food from anyone unless we know what is in the food..do yourself a favor Muriel..read up on this before you make comments like you did..this is not the same as an allegy to animals..companies should be responsible for labeling also..small children in daycare cannot tell if the Cheerio dropped on the floor is safe..
Chris Pariseau January 16, 2012 at 01:59 AM
I have a child with food allergies...When your child is first diagnosed, you read every single label of every item your purchase. After a while, you build a list of safe products, which makes shopping easier. I can understand the concern if the packaging of a product resembles too close--it's easy to make a mistake or overlook something. Not everyone has two hours to grocery shop, or be able to find a sitter so the little ones can stay home and not distract them from reading labels carefully. I usually shop alone and I will still on occasion mis-read a label and find out the item contains dairy or wheat. Not all labels are uniform and/or easy to read. White font on black label...hard to read..and if you are tired or have a headache...almost impossible. There are studies that show that we live in too hygienic a world and that it is wreaking havoc with our immune systems. But it is my understanding that it is linked more to illness and infection and not food allergies. The food allergy condition my son has is genetic. They have identified the gene and have linked it to asthma and eczema and other auto-immune diseases. Those of us who have children with food allergies start teaching our children early to identify 'safe foods'. We are surrounded by food regularly and a parent can't monitor a child 24/7, especially once they are school-aged. They need to learn to function in the real world. We need tolerance, understanding and compassion.


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