Got A Tip?

Star Seeker

Viral: News

25-Year-Old Dancer Dead After Eating Mislabeled Cookies

25-Year-Old Dancer Dead After Eating Mislabeled Cookies

A dancer in New York has passed away after eating a mislabeled cookie containing peanuts from the supermarket Stew Leonard’s earlier this month.

According to a statement issued on behalf of the family by their lawyers, Howard S. Hershenhorn and Marijo C. Adime, 25-year-old Órla Baxendale went into anaphylactic shock as a result of a severe allergic reaction to peanuts after consuming a Vanilla Florentine cookie while at an event on January 11. The performer had an EpiPen on hand and used it. Unfortunately, her allergy was too severe and she died.

What happened to the young performer was tragic and preventable. It turns out peanuts were not listed as an ingredient in the cookies on the packaging like they were supposed to be! Her family’s attorneys explained:

“Órla’s passing stemmed from an unfortunate incident involving the consumption of a cookie manufactured by Cookies United and sold by Stew Leonard’s, which contained undisclosed peanuts. … Preliminary investigation has revealed that Órla’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. This failure in proper disclosure has led to this devastating yet preventable outcome.”

Related: Woman Who Stabbed Boyfriend 108 Times Claimed Weed Made Her Crazy — And Got Probation!

Adime was adamant in a second statement that Órla was always “careful” about what she ate due to her severe nut allergy, saying:

“Orla was very careful and hyper-vigilant about everything she ate, and always thoroughly checked the ingredients on all packaging. In addition, she always carried an EpiPen with her and surrounded herself with people who know how to administer one. After she began to have an anaphylactic reaction, an EpiPen was used but due to the severity of her allergy, it was not effective.”

So awful…

After her death, Stew Leonard’s — the local grocery store that sold the Vanilla Florentine cookies Órla ate — recalled the 500 packs of the product from their stores in Danbury and Newington, Connecticut, from November 6 through December 31, 2023. They had a best-by date of January 5, 2024. The recall stated:

“Customers with nut allergies should bring back the product to customer service for a full refund.”

Here’s where a few eyebrows are going to be raised. Stew Leonard Jr. also addressed the situation in the video statement, explaining that the cookies were manufactured by wholesaler Cookies United and repackaged by Stew Leonard’s. When the supplier altered the recipe to include peanuts, he claimed Cookies United did not inform them, hence why the products were mislabeled:

“The supplier changed the recipe and started going from soy nuts to peanuts and our chief safety officer at Stew Leonard’s was never notified.”

However, Cookie United insisted that is not what happened! The company claimed they did share the ingredient change with Stew Leonard’s — several months ago! They alleged in a statement:

“Stew Leonard’s was notified by Cookies United in July of 2023 that this product now contains peanuts and all products shipped to them have been labeled accordingly. This product is sold under the Stew Leonard’s brand and repackaged at their facilities. The incorrect label was created by, and applied to, their product by Stew Leonard’s. In the 24 hours since Cookies United learned of this tragedy we have been cooperating with the New York State Department of Agriculture and have been informed we are in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations relating to this product.”

Whoa. It is unknown which party is actually behind the fatal mishap. However, officials from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and the Connecticut Department of Public Health are determined to find out! They are now investigating the incident. DCP Food Commissioner Bryan Cafferelli said:

“This is a heartbreaking tragedy that should never have happened. DCP Food Investigators are working hard with the Department of Public Health, local health departments, officials in New York State and New Jersey, the Food and Drug Administration and Stew Leonard’s to determine how this error happened and prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future. Our condolences go out to the family affected by this incident.”

DPH Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani stressed that “correct labeling so that people who have food allergies can appropriately protect themselves is of utmost importance,” adding:

“I am devastated to learn of this incident and will work with partners to ensure that we can protect people with food allergies. I cannot stress enough the importance of food allergy awareness so that an avoidable tragedy like this doesn’t happen again. We will continue to work with all our partners — including restaurants and retailers — to provide education on the dangers of food allergens so that best practices are being followed for the safety of the residents of Connecticut.”

It is terrible what happened to this young woman. Our hearts go out to the family. Reactions? Let us know in the comments below.

[Image via Órla Baxendale/Instagram]

Related Posts

Jan 25, 2024 18:15pm PDT

Share This