Mass Cookie Recall Issued After Woman Dies

The tragic death of 25-year-old professional dancer Orla Baxendale was caused by an allergic reaction, prompting the recall and public health warning of Stew Leonard’s Florentine cookies. From November 6, 2023, to December 31, 2023, the cookie containing peanuts not listed in the ingredients was sold at Stew Leonard’s locations in Newington and Danbury, Connecticut. Consumers with peanut allergies should not consume the cookies and should seek medical assistance if required, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) Food, Standards and Product Safety Division.

Baxendale, a Connecticut resident with a life-threatening peanut allergy, passed away on January 11 after an adverse reaction to Stew Leonard’s cookie. After taking just one bite of the cookie at a party, her friends administered her epi-pen and rushed her to the hospital. It was too late.

A third-party contractor made the cookies and switched out the soy nuts for peanuts after modifying the recipe. Over Christmas, Stew Leonard’s sold around 500 boxes of these cookies without informing their chief safety officer.

Connecticut officials urge consumers to dispose of or return the cookies to Stew Leonard’s immediately. You will get your money back in full at the food shop.

Stew Leonard’s, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and public health authorities from Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey are all assisting DCP investigators in their quest to identify the source of the mistake. They will also check to determine if the mislabeling mistake affected other items sold elsewhere.

The Florentine cookies were made by Cookies United, a wholesaler located in New York. The company has shared sympathy with the victims and has been helping the New York State Department of Agriculture with their investigation.

Proper labeling is paramount for those with food allergies, according to DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, who also mentioned that the DCP’s investigation is ongoing.