Family of woman, 25, who died after allegedly eating mislabeled cookies sues grocery store

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In January, a 25-year-old professional dancer named Órla Baxendale tragically passed away after consuming mislabeled cookies bought from the grocery store chain Stew Leonard’s. Subsequently, lawyers are initiating a significant wrongful death lawsuit against the company on behalf of Baxendale’s estate.

Baxendale, who had a severe peanut allergy, ingested some cookies at a social event, as reported by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. The Florentine cookies, bought at Stew Leonard’s in Connecticut, were found to contain undeclared peanuts and other allergens, according to the complaint filed on May 23, 2024.

The lawsuit alleges that Stew Leonard’s disregarded prior warnings from the manufacturer and failed to update the ingredients label on the cookies when necessary. The complaint names both Stew Leonard’s and the cookie manufacturer, Cookies United, as defendants.

Stew Leonard’s chose not to provide a comment for this matter due to the ongoing legal proceedings. Cookies United did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TODAY.com. Following a Jan. 23, 2024, alert from the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection, Stew Leonard’s recalled both the chocolate and vanilla versions of the cookies, originally produced by wholesaler Cookies United, due to the labeling mistake and acknowledged a potential fatality due to the mislabeled product.

On the same day, Cookies United released a statement and documents indicating that it had informed multiple Stew Leonard’s employees of the recipe change in July 2023.

In an updated statement released on Jan. 25, Stew Leonard’s cautioned customers that the cookies contained undeclared peanuts and eggs, mentioning one reported death possibly linked to the mislabeled product. Stew Leonard’s is collaborating with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and the supplier to ascertain the cause of the labeling error. Customers who purchased these cookies were advised to return the product to Stew Leonard’s customer service.

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