Dancer, 25, Dies from Mislabelled Cookies: Stew Leonard’s Faces Blame Game
Tragic Death of Professional Dancer Sparks Investigation into Mislabeling at Stew Leonard’s.
In a devastating turn of events, the vibrant New York dance community mourns the loss of 25-year-old professional dancer, Órla Baxendale, who tragically passed away after consuming mislabeled holiday cookies from Stew Leonard’s, a popular grocery store chain. The incident, which occurred on January 11th, has ignited a flurry of investigations and raised serious questions about food labeling standards and safety protocols.
According to statements released by attorney Marijo Adimey, Baxendale suffered a fatal allergic reaction, falling into anaphylactic shock due to undisclosed peanuts in a Vanilla Florentine cookie she ingested during a social gathering in Connecticut. The cookies, manufactured by Cookies United and sold by Stew Leonard’s, were later recalled for the period between November 6th and December 31st, 2023, from the Danbury and Newington, CT locations.
Baxendale, a native of Manchester, UK, had moved to New York City in pursuit of her dance career, training as a scholarship student at the renowned Ailey School. Her talent had graced stages during New York Fashion Week and various productions at Lincoln Center, marking her as a rising star in the dance world.
The aftermath of Baxendale's tragic death has seen Stew Leonard’s and Cookies United engage in a blame game. Stew Leonard’s CEO, Stew Leonard Jr., expressed condolences to the grieving family, maintaining that the Long Island bakery, their supplier, failed to communicate a change in ingredients. In contrast, Cookies United asserts that they had notified Stew Leonard’s of the ingredient alteration in July 2023, alleging that the store neglected to updat their packaging accordingly.
As investigations into the incident unfold, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Food, Standards, and Product Safety Division (DCP) has taken a lead role, collaborating with authorities from Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey,