Stew Leonard’s Cookie Recall: A Tragic Death and a Warning for All

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In a heartbreaking turn of events, 25-year-old Orla Baxendale, a professional dancer, lost her life due to anaphylactic shock after consuming cookies sold by Stew Leonard’s. The incident, which occurred on January 11, has been described by her family’s lawyer as “100% preventable”. Baxendale, originally from the UK and living in Manhattan, attended a social event in Connecticut where she unknowingly ingested the allergen.

The cookies in question, Florentine Cookies provided by Long Island’s Cookies United, were reportedly mislabeled, failing to mention the presence of peanuts, a known allergen for Baxendale. This error, as stated by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, led to the fatal allergic reaction. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that Stew Leonard’s, upon receiving the cookies, repackaged them, which resulted in the omission of the updated ingredient information.

Responsibility and Recall: A Matter of Safety

In the aftermath of this tragedy, Stew Leonard’s has issued a recall for the implicated product. It’s been reported that Cookies United had informed Stew Leonard’s about the ingredient change over the summer, a claim countered by Stew Leonard’s, who allege they weren’t notified. This dispute highlights the critical importance of accurate and transparent communication in food labeling, especially when it comes to allergens.

Prevention and Awareness: Lessons to Learn

The incident underscores the vital need for vigilance in food allergies. Punita Ponda, an allergy and immunology specialist, emphasizes the importance of having an allergy action plan and always carrying necessary medication, like an EpiPen. She compares it to carrying a wallet and ID – it’s essential for those with severe allergies.

In Memoriam: Remembering Orla Baxendale

Orla Baxendale’s death is not just a statistic; it’s a poignant reminder of a life full of potential tragically cut short. She was celebrated as a vivacious and talented individual, whose absence leaves a void in the hearts of those who knew her.

A Call to Action: Ensuring Food Safety

This tragedy serves as a wake-up call for stricter adherence to food safety protocols and labeling requirements. It’s a stark reminder that the stakes can be life and death, emphasizing the importance of responsibility at every level – from manufacturers to retailers.

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