Órla Baxendale (1998 – 2024/The Ailey School
Órla Baxendale, 25, went into anaphylactic shock resulting from a severe allergic reaction as she ate a Vanilla Florentine cookie on Jan. 11, attorney Marijo Adimey said in a statement Wednesday.
Baxendale, a UK native, ate the treat at a social gathering in Connecticut, according to News 12.
“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,” Adimey wrote.
“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.”
Adimey shared that an investigation into Baxendale’s death revealed “gross negligence and reckless conduct of the manufacturer and/or sellers” for not stating on the cookies’ packaging that the product contained peanuts.
“This failure in proper disclosure has led to this devastating yet preventable outcome,” the attorney wrote.
The Manchester native moved to New York City to train as a scholarship student at the Ailey School in 2018, according to the school’s website.
Apparently, Stew Leonard’s did not receive notice of a change in ingredients for the vanilla Florentine Cookies that they buy from a Long Island bakery.
The wholesaler, Cookies United, however, claimed it did share the change in ingredients with the regional supermarket chain months before Baxendale’s death.
“Stew Leonard’s claimed in an earlier press release that ‘the cookies contain peanuts, which was an ingredient not disclosed to Stew Leonard’s by the manufacturer,’” United Cookies wrote in a statement Tuesday.
“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.”
According to the wholesaler, Stew Leonard’s changed the packaging to match its brand, but failed to properly label the cookies as containing peanuts.