'Her Loss Will Be Profoundly Felt': NYC Dancer Dies After Eating Mislabeled Cookies from Stew Leonard's Grocery

A dancer living in New York died after eating cookies from the supermarket chain called Stew Leonard’s in Connecticut when she experienced a severe allergic reaction.

The young woman has been identified as 25-year-old Órla Baxendale, who was originally from the United Kingdom and living in New York City to pursue her dancing career, according to her family’s lawyers who explained what happened in a statement, NBC New York reported Thursday.

She died on January 11 of anaphylactic shock “resulting from a severe allergic reaction to a cookie manufactured by Cookies United and sold by the supermarket chain Stew Leonard’s, the statement said. The cookie contained peanuts that were not listed as part of the ingredients,” per the NBC article.

An image shows the young woman and a container holding several of the cookies in question:

Leadership of the grocery store chain that has three locations in Connecticut recently issued a recall for the Florentine Cookies that were sold in Danbury and Newington.

Although the store’s recall said the items contained peanuts, the manufacturer reportedly failed to note the ingredients on the label.

“A lawyer for the manufacturer, Cookies United, says the company sent emails to 11 Stew Leonard’s employees in July, saying that the chocolate Florentine cookie and vanilla Florentine cookie now contain peanuts,” the NBC report said.

However, the grocery chain claims it was never told about the peanut ingredient.

According to WebMD, when a person suffers anaphylactic shock they must receive immediate treatment.

“If you have an anaphylactic reaction, you need a shot of epinephrine (adrenaline) as soon as possible, and someone should call 911 for emergency medical help. Left untreated, it can be deadly,” the website reads.

In a social media post on January 15, the Ailey School in New York shared its grief over Baxendale’s death, saying she was from Manchester and moved to New York in 2018 to join the school on a scholarship:

The Ailey School is deeply saddened by the untimely passing of alumna Órla Baxendale. Órla was born and raised in…

Posted by The Ailey School on Monday, January 15, 2024

“Since then, she had become an integral part of the New York dance world, pursuing her passion, shining her bright light, and doing what she loved most. She danced with numerous companies and choreographers, most recently as a member of MOMIX,” the school wrote.

“Her loss will be profoundly felt by her friends, colleagues, and all who knew her. We will remember her for her joyful spirit and boundless talent. Our thoughts are with her family at this devastating time. Rest in peace, dear Órla,” it concluded.


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