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Family of dancer, 25, who died after eating mislabeled cookie sues the supermarket

Family of dancer, 25, who died after eating mislabeled cookie sues the supermarket

Órla Baxendale tragically went into anaphylactic shock after consuming a Florentine biscuit

The family of a British dancer who tragically passed away after consuming a mislabeled cookie, which contained peanuts, have launched a lawsuit against the supermarket which sold them.

The young performer Órla Baxendale had her whole life ahead of her when she ate the sweet treat back in January this year.

Orla died after going into anaphylactic shock. (Instagram/@orla_baxendale)
Orla died after going into anaphylactic shock. (Instagram/@orla_baxendale)

The 25-year-old had purchased a batch of Florentine cookie's from Stew Leonard’s, a grocery store chain in the north-eastern US.

Little did she know, however, that the biscuit actually contained traces of nuts - something Órla was deadly allergic to.

Within a matter of minutes, the young artist went into anaphylactic shock and - despite having her life-saving EpiPen handy - she tragically died on the scene.

Following the devastating news, the grocery store from which she purchased the vanilla Florentine snack recalled all of this particular brand of cookie, as well as the chocolate flavour - around 500 of which were sold.

Warning customers that the biscuits do contain eggs and peanuts - both of which they claimed to not - the supermarket also acknowledged in a subsequent statement that one customer had died after consuming a mislabelled cookie, and admitted an error had been made.

"Stew Leonard’s is working with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and the supplier to determine the cause of the labelling error," it read.

(Connecticut Department of Public Health)
(Connecticut Department of Public Health)

"Customers who have purchased these cookies should bring back the product to Stew Leonard’s customer service for a full refund."

In a video statement released by the firm's CEO, Stew Leonard Jr, Órla's family were offered their condolences.

"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."

Cookies United subsequently refuted the claims in a statement, however, alleging that the misprinted label was 'created by, and applied to, their product by Stew Leonard’s.'

They also included documents proving that the grocery store had been informed of the recipe change in July last year, six months prior to Órla's death.

This week, however, the victim's family have announced their decision to sue both the American supermarket chain's 'gross negligence and reckless indifference to the rights of others'.


At the time of Órla's death, attorney Marijo C. Adime claimed: "After she began to have an anaphylactic reaction, an EpiPen was used but due to the severity of her allergy, it was not effective."

The new lawsuit now alleges that the dancer 'like all consumers, relied upon the manufacturer and seller to properly label the package sold to the general public'.

It also describes the mislabelling error as a 'grossly negligent, intentional, reckless, callous, indifferent to human life, and a wanton violation as the manufacturer and seller were required under the law to properly declare the ingredients.'

The lawsuit also included documents showing that Cookie's United had told Stew Leonard’s employees about the recipe change back in July 2023, alleging that the grocery store had 'ignored' the email and 'never changed the label or nutrition fact panel'.

Tyla contacted Stew Leonard's for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@orla_baxendale /Instagram/Connecticut Department of Public Health

Topics: Food and Drink, Health, UK News, US News