British woman dies after eating mislabelled cookie

Posted: 26 January 2024 | | No comments yet

According to latest reports, Órla Baxendale, a 25 year old woman, has died from an anaphylactic shock after eating an incorrectly labelled cookie in Connecticut.


Órla Baxendale, a 25-year-old British woman who had been living in the US, has died after suffering a fatal anaphylactic shock that occurred after eating a cookie sold by the grocery chain Stew Leonard’s, according to latest reports.

New Food understands that the cookie was mislabelled and did not state that it contained peanuts.

In an update posted to the Stew Leonard’s website on 25 January 2024, the company announced that it is now recalling its vanilla and chocolate Florentine cookies due to the products containing “undeclared peanuts and eggs”. ABC News has reported that this product was being sold at grocery stores in Danbury and Newington, Connecticut, back in 2023 and were produced by Cookies United, an Islip, New York, based wholesaler.

The BBC has shared that Baxendale was an East Lancashire, England, born young dancer, who originally moved to the US in 2018. However, on 11 January 2024, Baxendale sadly passed away after eating a cookie sold by the Stew Leonard’s grocery chain, despite using her EpiPen, said the BBC.

From 6 November last year, the recently updated recalled cookies were reportedly being sold in two towns in Connecticut and were said to have remained on shelved until the end of 2023.

ABC News noted that Baxendale’s attorneys explained that preliminary investigations revealed the 25-year old’s death “occurred due to the gross negligence and reckless conduct of the manufacturer and/or sellers who failed to properly identify the contents of the cookie on the packaging,” before continuing: “This failure in proper disclosure has led to this devastating yet preventable outcome.”

Inquest reports fatal allergic reaction to takeaway pizza

In response to the mislabelling, Stew Leonard Jr, the company’s CEO and President, stated in a video posted to its website: “We bought it from an outside supplier and unfortunately, the supplier changed the recipe and started going from soy nuts to peanuts and our chief safety officer here at Stew Leonard’s was never notified.” 

Leonard Jr claims that the company has a “very rigorous process that we use as far as labelling” and emphasised that it “takes labels very seriously, especially peanuts.”

According to an update on ABC News, Stew Leonard’s Chief Safety Officer was “not notified of a change in the product’s recipe”.

In the announcement posted to the Stew Leonard’s website, the company has said that it is currently working with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, as well as the supplier to “determine the cause of the labelling error,” ABC News finds.

Just a few weeks ago, New Food reported that a British man suffered a fatal allergic reaction after eating “less than a slice of takeaway pizza” ordered via the online delivery app Deliveroo.

With mislabelled food products taking the lives of multiple people, Liljia Polo-Richards, Director and Founder of Allergy Companions previously told New Food that she believes the food sector should “take this opportunity to understand what more can be done to raise awareness of the seriousness that all allergies can carry and why communication between consumers and hospitality is so important.”

New Food will keep its readers updated with any developments.

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