Lifestyle Fashion

When a Cookie Becomes Deadly: The Unfortunate Peanut Allergy Death Of A Young Woman Revealed

More importance should be given on the correct labelling of food. (Image: Shutterstock)

Discover the heartbreaking story of a young woman’s demise after consuming a mislabeled cookie from Stew Leonard’s.

A professional dancer from New York died after eating cookies bought from Stew Leonard, a popular supermarket in the USA. Orla Baxendale died on January 11 after she suffered an anaphylactic shock caused by a severe allergic reaction to peanuts that were in the mislabelled cookies. The peanut allergy is the most common cause of food-induced anaphylaxis. During anaphylaxis, the immune system triggers a flood of chemicals that can cause the body to go into shock. Cookie brand Stew Leonard has issued a recall of its Florentine cookies after it found that they contain undeclared peanuts and eggs.

Orla’s attorneys said in a statement, published on January 24, “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.”

Stew Leonard’s president and CEO Stew Leonard Jr. said in a statement that they are “devastated” by the news of Orla’s death. He said the company was not notified of a change in the product’s recipe by the supplier. The CEO explained, “We bought it (the cookies) 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.” He added, “We have a very rigorous process that we use as far as labelling. We take labels very seriously, especially peanuts.”

As per ABC News, the supermarket brand released an updated statement on Thursday and said that it is working with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and the supplier to “determine the cause of the labelling error.”

Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection released a press note on January 23, warning consumers with nut allergies to “immediately dispose of the cookies or return them to the point of sale and seek medical attention if necessary.”

Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani, emphasised the importance of correct labelling in a press statement and said, “Correct labelling so that people who have food allergies can appropriately protect themselves is of utmost importance. 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.”

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