Smoothie mix-up sends kids to hospital

HOUSTON - A trip to a local Jamba Juice led to a trip to the hospital for two young brothers after they drank a peanut butter smoothie, their mother said. 

Akil Collins, 10, and his little brother, Masai, 8, are allergic to peanuts. 

"They ordered the (same berry) smoothie that they get probably two or three times a week for years," their mother, Akilah Collins, said. "But for some reason, that particular day, they put peanut butter in their smoothie. When my husband took the lid off, he could see it was brown. You could smell the peanut butter."

But it was too late.

"I was worried," Masai said.  "It didn't taste right."

Older brother Akil said that his throat began itching within seconds.

"(Akil) started coughing really bad," his mother said.  "His face started to swell.  He started to wheeze."

Collins said her husband told the manager at the northwest Harris County Jamba Juice about the mistake and rushed the boys to Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center.

"I was kind of scared because my peanut butter allergy is off the charts," Akil said.  "I thought I was going to die if I didn't get there fast."

According to Collins, Akil began vomiting while waiting for Benadryl and an EpiPen injection.

"If his body hadn't rejected (the peanuts)," she said.  "It would've been even worse."

Both boys recovered, but Collins said that she's still upset because no one at Jamba Juice seemed to show any concern.

"Six days later they had not even called to see if the children were OK (or asked) what had happened," Collins said. "Nothing."

Beyond that, Collins said she's worried about the same thing happening to others. 

"They're totally marketing to children now," Collins said.  "They got children's cups, menus and meals and they haven't put anything in place to protect kids who have allergies. It's a simple thing to designate a blender (for) peanut butter. At least it gives the child a visual to know, 'Oh wait, mine's coming out of that blender. That's not right for me."

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, nearly two million Americans have a peanut allergy.

Local 2 made several attempts to contact Jamba Juice officials, but we never heard back.

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