A British ballet dancer, who was battling with a severe peanut allergy, has died in the US after eating a cookie which didn't have nuts mentioned as an ingredient on the packaging of the product, UK newspaper The Independent reported.
Earlier this month, Orla Baxendale, a 25-year-old woman living in New York, purchased the cookie from a Stew Leonard’s grocery shop in Connecticut in the US.
The woman ate the cookie after seeing that there was no mention of nuts on the package label and wasn't aware that Vanilla Florentine Cookies, on the contrary, contained peanuts.
Despite carrying an EpiPen injection to tackle her allergic reaction, Baxendale died of anaphylactic shock on January 11, her lawyers said.
"Orla was very careful and hyper-vigilant about everything she ate, and always thoroughly checked the ingredients on all packaging. In addition, she always carried an EpiPen with her and surrounded herself with people who know how to administer one," the attorney was quoted as saying by The Independent.
"After she began to have an anaphylactic reaction, an EpiPen was used but due to the severity of her allergy, it was not effective," he said.
Following the incident, the Stew Leonard’s grocery shop has recalled the batch of Vanilla Florentine Cookies. The company's director said the cookie, which Baxendale, contained peanuts and eggs, both ingredients which were not mentioned on the packaging label.
"The cookies contain undeclared peanuts and eggs. People with an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts or eggs run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. One death has been reported that may be associated with the mislabeled product," said Stew Leonard’s director of public relations Meghan Bell.
Originally from East Lancashire in England, Baxendale shifted to New York to pursue a dance career.
Her family expressed shock over her death and were "devastated by this unimaginable loss", The Independent reported.
According to her online obituary, Baxendale was described as "an exquisite ballet, contemporary, and Irish step dancer" who was the "embodiment of enthusiasm, strength and beauty".
The owner of the Stew Leonard’s store in Connecticut said it was a "sad day" and "devastating" for everyone.
"I have four daughters, one of them is in their 20s. I can imagine how that family feels right now, and we’re all just very, very sad about this whole thing," he said.