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While one in 10 people in the U.S. have at least one food allergy, peanut allergies are amongst the most dangerous. Even small traces of peanut can be life-threatening or fatal to those with peanut allergies. This is because of the severe reaction they can cause with minimal ingestion. Anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, impairs breathing and can lead to internal organ damage, cardiac arrest, and even death.

One Massachusetts mother, Nicole Arpiarian, has witnessed the severity of anaphylaxis first-hand. She was forced to watch her 12-year-old son almost die after he took a bite of what a waitress assured her was a fruit-filled pastry: it was peanut butter. Now, Arpiarian is working with state Senator Cindy Creem to build upon Massachusetts’ current allergy laws and raise awareness about food allergies. In Creem’s own words: “There are still people who are unaware of the serious side effects of [food allergies]. When you talk about having a peanut allergy, you don’t just have a hive. You could die.”

The company RXBAR recently announced an expanded voluntary recall of 15 flavors of protein bars after discovering that some of them might contain undeclared peanut allergens. The recall includes bars that have a “Best By” date between Jan. 14 and Oct. 19, 2019 in the following flavors:

  • Standard Bar Flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Hazelnut, Chocolate Sea Salt, Coconut Chocolate, Coffee Chocolate, Mango Pineapple, Maple Sea Salt, Mint Chocolate, Mixed Berry, Pumpkin Spice
  • Kids Bar Flavors: Apple Cinnamon Raisin, Berry Blast, Chocolate Chip

The following flavors are not affected by the recall:

  • Standard Bar Flavors: Gingerbread, Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter & Berries, Peanut Butter Chocolate, all RX Nut Butter Varieties
  • Kids Bar Flavors: Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter Chocolate, PB&J

The initial recall began in December, when two of the flavors were taken off the market after an internal investigation revealed they may be tainted with peanut allergens. According to RXBAR, a the issue came from an ingredient supplied by a third party, which may have been manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, and wheat. The expanded recall is considered a precautionary measure.

It is critically important that food manufacturers minimize the possibility of cross-contamination. If cross-contamination cannot be avoided, however, it becomes the manufacturer’s responsibility to include a warning label that states the possibility of an allergen’s presence. If they fail to do so, consumers with allergies are put at risk.

If you or someone you know has suffered because of an unlisted allergen in their food, you should consult a food safety lawyer right away. Consider reaching out to Sweeney Merrigan Law today at 617-391-9001 or email to discuss your legal options.

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