A playground was allegedly smeared with peanut butter in an attempt to target children with peanut allergies.
The Toronto Star reports that mother Sarah Bolton noticed peanut butter smeared at Dufferin Grove Park. Bolton, who was with her 2-year-old child, Lewis, was shocked. "It's just a really scary situation," she said. "It would have to take a sociopath to do something like this."
The Daily Mail reports that the peanut butter was all over, with Bolton estimating that at least three jars were used. She recalled, "It was everywhere. All over the hand railings… on the ladder, all over the swings, all over the slides."
Parks, Forestry and Recreation spokesman Matthew Cutler announced: "At Dufferin Grove on Wednesday, staff were approached in the park by a parent who reported peanut butter on the playground equipment. In this case, there was peanut butter on the equipment which was promptly removed by parks staff."
Food Allergy Canada said in a statement: "Given that even a small amount of peanut butter, if ingested, could cause a serious allergic reaction and be potentially life-threatening, it is an upsetting situation for everyone."
Peanut butter allergies affect roughly 2.4 percent of children under the age of 18. In the most severe cases, the allergic reaction could be fatal.
“[It’s] hard to predict how much peanut would trigger the reaction, so we always warn parents that small amounts could trigger it,” said Dr. Edmond Chan, the division head of the allergy clinic at the BC Children's Hospital. “If the child touched the play structures, then internalized the peanut somehow -- like they didn’t wash their hands and touched the food they ate, rubbed their eye, licked their fingers -- they could internalize it,” he said.
This story has gone viral, but so far no leads have been reported.