BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A recent decision by Battle Creek-based Kellogg's is stirring up serious backlash from parents all over the country.
Some of the company's most popular snacks will soon be made with peanut flour.
Peanuts are one of the most common food allergies.
Studies show the number of kids in the U.S. with a peanut allergy has actually tripled in recent years. The decision wipes several lines of snacks off the safe list for these kids.
"If I eat a peanut and my throat swells up, I would use the epi-pen," explained 11-year-old Haleigh Loso, who has life-threatening food allergies.
For Haleigh, "safe snacks" are hard to come by. So she sticks with what she knows.
But she won't be biting into these much longer, as three weeks ago, Kellogg's announced they will start adding peanut flour to eight flavors of their popular sandwich crackers.
"I was really not happy about it because I used to love those crackers," she said.
We asked Kellogg's why they're making the switch, and didn't get a clear answer. They're simply saying it was "a change (they) needed to make."
"One of the scary parts, if someone isn't as diligent with checking the labels, they just assume these are automatically safe because they have been safe for so many years," said Haleigh's mother, Marianne.
Marianne is one of more than 20,000 people who have signed a petition, directed at Kellogg's, on snacksafely.com.
Kellogg's has responded, saying in part, "we know it's not easy to find foods that people with peanut allergies can make, which is why we will be making our Austin Grilled Cheese sandwich crackers without peanut products."
"That response to me was ridiculous. They pretty much said, yeah, we hear you but we are going to give you one cracker that will be safe for your child," Marianne said.
Kellogg's full statement is as follows:
At Kellogg, the health and safety of our consumers is something we take very seriously. That is why we communicated ahead of time about changes to the ingredients in certain Keebler and Austin sandwich crackers, which will be reflected clearly on the label.
We know it's not easy to find foods that people with peanut allergies can eat, which is why we will be making our Austin Grilled Cheese Sandwich Crackers without peanut products. They will be available in stores around the country starting in September.
We are also continuing to look at ways to provide more options in the future that people with peanut allergies can eat.
Kellogg's also offered the following announcements regarding the change.
Sandwich Cracker product allergen changes for Keebler Sandwich Crackers
Sandwich Cracker product allergen changes for Austin Crackers