Allergic Dancer Consumes Mislabeled Stew Leonard’s Cookie, Resulting in Tragic Outcome

After consuming a snack from Stew Leonard’s, a grocery store chain in the north-eastern US, dancer Órla Baxendale experienced a severe allergic reaction.

Unfortunately, an EpiPen couldn’t save her.

The grocery store has recently issued a recall for the batch of Vanilla Florentine Cookies, in collaboration with the US Food and Drug Administration.

In a video post discussing Ms Baxendale’s passing, Stew Leonard’s revealed that approximately 500 packages of the cookies had been sold. The company has requested that customers bring the cookies back to their stores.

According to her family, Ms Baxendale enjoyed the cookies during her time in Connecticut, where she was preparing for her performance as the lead in a dance company’s version of Alice in Wonderland, as reported by the BBC.

According to her family, the dancer was extremely cautious when it came to her peanut allergy and would never venture outside without her trusty EpiPen.

Despite the use of Ms Baxendale’s EpiPen, it was unable to save her life, and she tragically passed away on 11 January.

Having grown up in East Lancashire, she made the bold decision to relocate to the bustling streets of New York City in 2018, driven by her unwavering passion for dance.

According to her online obituary, she was described as a remarkable dancer, skilled in ballet, contemporary, and Irish step. Her passion, resilience, and grace were evident in every performance.

Stew Leonard’s recently announced an additional recall of their Vanilla and Chocolate Florentine Cookies. This comes after a previous recall earlier this week. The reason for the recall is that the cookies contain peanuts and eggs, which were not declared on the packaging. For individuals with allergies to these ingredients, consuming the cookies could potentially lead to severe or life-threatening allergic reactions.

In two Connecticut towns, the product was available for purchase from 6 November until the end of the year.

Commissioner Bryan Cafferelli expressed deep sadness over Ms Baxendale’s passing, describing it as a devastating tragedy.

According to him, his state agency is collaborating with local and federal officials, as well as other states, to ensure that a similar tragedy does not happen again in the future.

In a recent statement, Stew Leonard’s president and CEO, Stew Leonard Jr, expressed concern over a manufacturer’s decision to switch ingredients without proper notification. Leonard Jr highlighted the change from soy nuts to peanuts and emphasized that the company’s chief safety officer was not informed.

Cookies United, a Long Island manufacturer, disputed the claim and stated that it informed Stew Leonard’s about the recipe change in July 2023.

The company’s general counsel stated that all products received by them were properly labeled. They also mentioned that the product is sold under the Stew Leonard’s brand and repackaged at their facilities, but unfortunately, with the wrong label.

In an online statement, attorneys representing Ms Baxendale’s family have stated that a preliminary investigation has uncovered that Órla’s death was a result of the manufacturer and/or sellers’ gross negligence and reckless conduct.

Currently, there is no legal action being taken against either party.

According to the BBC, Ms Baxendale’s family shared that she had exciting plans to embark on a worldwide tour with her dance company, MOMIX.

«Órla’s impact on our lives is immeasurable. In just 25 years, she experienced more than most people do in a lifetime. Her memory will forever be cherished in our hearts,» expressed her family.

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