A newly opened PB&J cafe next to a children’s museum in Massachusetts is sparking outrage amongst parents.
The Boston Children’s Museum is on the receiving end of backlash from allergy-conscious parents saying that they will never come back unless significant changes are made, Today reported.
In November, the museum announced on Facebook that the new cafe was open inside the museum for “delicious bites and refreshments.”
The caption read, “We are thrilled to announce that Stonewall Kitchen’s new PB&J cafe is NOW OPEN inside the Boston Children’s Museum building! Come on in for delicious bites and refreshments—the perfect pairing after a trip to the museum!”
However, parents of children with severe food allergies were taken back by the news. While not all of the cafe’s food included peanut butter, parents quickly commented about their children's safety.
“This is so CRAZY and out of touch!” posted one parent. “Why would the Children’s Museum decide that it’s a good idea to feature a major allergen on their menu AND name their restaurant after it?! Boston Children’s Museum PEANUTS ARE THE MOST LIKELY FOOD TO CAUSE ANAPHYLAXIS AND DEATH, you might wanna rethink your menu/name. The Children’s Museum is no longer safe for allergy families.”
Boston Children’s Museum responded to the backlash in the comments on their post about the café opening.
“We want to thank all of you who have shared your concerns with us about the Stonewall Kitchen PB&J Cafe,” they posted. “We have read every comment and we take your heartfelt concerns very seriously. We are working with Stonewall Kitchen to find a solution that meets the needs of all families, including those with allergy concerns, and that offers safe and appealing menu options for all families that visit the museum. We want everyone to feel safe and welcome at the museum and ask for your patience as we work with Stonewall Kitchen to address the concerns that have been raised.”
Concerned parents said that the museum offering more food options was not enough.
Kayla Jones-Corn, one of the commenters on Facebook, has a 4-year-old son with food allergies, including not eating peanuts.
“My 4-year-old son is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and white fish,” Jones-Corn told Today. “Personally, with the PB&J cafe going into the museum, I would not feel comfortable taking him to the museum. Peanut butter is sticky, and kids are messy. There would be too much of a risk of little peanut buttery hands touching everything and causing a reaction in my son.”
A Stonewall Kitchen spokesperson said the company was surprised by the reaction online. The spokesperson explained how the new restaurant was not actually in the museum.
“Certainly it has given us pause and we are assessing how we can increase messaging in our store about our offerings and encourage hand washing to ensure everyone’s safety,” the spokesperson said. “We weren’t expecting this type of reaction, in part because the café is not inside the museum, and also because the café isn’t really all about peanut butter.”