Tragic Death of British Ballet Dancer Orla Baxendale in the US Due to Undeclared Allergens in Cookie

In a heartbreaking incident, a 25-year-old British ballet dancer, Orla Baxendale, lost her life in the United States after consuming a cookie that did not list peanuts, a severe allergen for her, on its packaging. The Independent, a UK newspaper, reported the unfortunate event.

Orla, who had been battling a severe peanut allergy, purchased the cookie from Stew Leonard’s grocery shop in Connecticut earlier this month. Despite her meticulous scrutiny of the package label, she was unaware that the Vanilla Florentine Cookies she consumed contained peanuts, leading to a fatal anaphylactic shock on January 11, as stated by her lawyers.

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Despite carrying an EpiPen for emergencies and being surrounded by individuals familiar with its administration, the severity of her allergy proved insurmountable. Her lawyers emphasized Orla’s vigilance in checking ingredients and the use of an EpiPen.

In response to the incident, Stew Leonard’s grocery shop has issued a recall for the batch of Vanilla Florentine Cookies. The company’s director revealed that the cookies contained undeclared peanuts and eggs, neither of which was mentioned on the packaging label. Meghan Bell, the director of public relations, warned of the potential life-threatening consequences for individuals with allergies to these ingredients.

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Hailing from East Lancashire in England, Orla had moved to New York to pursue her passion for dance. Her family, devastated by her sudden demise, expressed their shock and grief over the loss of an “exquisite ballet, contemporary, and Irish step dancer” who embodied “enthusiasm, strength, and beauty,” according to her online obituary.

The owner of Stew Leonard’s store in Connecticut conveyed deep sorrow, acknowledging the tragic impact on Orla’s family. He empathized, stating, “I can imagine how that family feels right now, and we’re all just very, very sad about this whole thing. It’s a sad day for everyone.”

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