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Professional dancer, 25, dead after eating mislabeled cookies from grocery store
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@orla_baxendale/Connecticut Department of Public Health

Professional dancer, 25, dead after eating mislabeled cookies from grocery store

Órla Baxendale, 25, went into anaphylactic shock after eating an incorrectly labelled cookie which contained a peanut

A 25-year-old professional dancer died after eating a cookie which had been incorrectly labelled.

Órla Baxendale went into anaphylactic shock after eating the Vanilla Florentine cookie from Stew Leonard's on January 11.

The cookie had been labelled as not containing peanuts, meaning that the professional dancer had believed it was safe to eat.

Tragically, the cookie - which was manufactured by Cookies United and sold by Stew Leonard's - had been incorrectly labelled and did contain the allergen, with fatal results.

A preliminary investigation has indicated that 'gross negligence' had led to Órla's death as manufacturers had not correctly identified allergens on the packing.

A statement from lawyers representing Órla's family said: "This failure in proper disclosure has led to this devastating yet preventable outcome."

It added: “Órla’s passing stemmed from an unfortunate incident involving the consumption of a cookie manufactured by Cookies United and sold by Stew Leonard’s, which contained undisclosed peanuts.

Orla was working as a professional dancer in New York.
Instagram / @orla_baxendale

"This tragic oversight has led to the recall of the Vanilla Florentine Cookies from Stew Leonard’s stores in Danbury and Newington, CT, for the period of November 6 – December 31, 2023."

Órla was born and raised in Manchester in the UK, and started practising Irish dance at a young age.

This led to her developing a love for other dance styles, and she began training at the Northern Ballet Academy in Leeds and Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham.

In 2018, Órla moved to New York on a scholarship, where she lived working as a professional dancer.

This included performing at New York Fashion Week, and in several productions at Lincoln Center.

Stew Leonard's has said it was not informed of the change of ingredients in the Vanilla Florentine Cookies from the bakery in Long Island which supplies it.

The 25-year-old went into anaphylactic shock after eating the cookie.
Instagram / @orla_baxendale

In a video, CEO Stew Leonard Jr. said: “I’m here with our family and, I mean we’re just all devastated, very sad. I have four daughters, one of them is in her 20s. I can imagine how that family feels right now.”

However, wholesaler Cookies United has said otherwise, claiming it had been informed.

A statement from Cookies United said: “Unfortunately, considering the tragedy of these circumstances, we need to point out that Stew Leonard’s was notified by Cookies United in July of 2023 that this product now contains peanuts, and all products shipped to them have been labeled accordingly.”

The wholesaler alleged that the packaging had been changed to reflect the store brand, and had not been properly labelled.

Stew Leonard's has issued a recall on the product.

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