Person Dies Due to Allergen not Listed on Label

The young woman had a severe peanut allergy.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

January 26, 2024

2 Min Read
Stew Leonard's recalled cookies
Young woman in NYC dies after eating cookie from package that did not list peanuts as an ingredient.Image courtesy of Stew Leonard's

On January 11, 2024, a young woman, who recently moved to New York for a dancing career, died from eating a cookie with a packaging label that did not include peanuts on the ingredient list.

This 25-year-old woman's allergy to peanuts was too severe for her EpiPen to be effective after eating the cookie, say various news sources.

Every month, the US Food & Drug Administration sees countless food and beverage products recalled due to undeclared allergens on the packaging label.

Grocery store Stew Leonard's sells chocolate and vanilla Florentine cookies, which is the cookie in question. The retail chain has discontinued the cookies, but the recall is not yet on the FDA recall list. It is, however, on the Stew Leonard's website as a recalled product.

In addition to peanuts not being on the packaging label, sources claim that the Florentines also include undeclared egg, another known allergen.

The website states that "Stew Leonard’s is working with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and the supplier to determine the cause of the labeling error. Customers who have purchased these cookies should bring back the product to Stew Leonard’s customer service for a full refund."

Stew Leonard's expressed their condolences in a video statement issued by Stew Leonard, Jr. "It's a sad day for us. We're just all devastated, very sad," he said. "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." 

Leonard Jr. also stated that the cookies were manufactured by wholesaler Cookies United, out of Islip, NY, and repackaged by Stew Leonard's.

Baking manufacturer Cookies United is pushing blame on Stew Leonard’s after the grocery chain blamed the baked goods company for not alerting them to an ingredient change that added peanuts to some of the cookies that it supplies. But this still doesn't explain the undeclared egg.

According to the FDA, the 13 ingredients they define as allergens must be listed on packaging labels if the product contains any of the allergens.

Stew Leonard's locations include Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.

My question is: When is this going to end? A fatality is the worst possible outcome from a food or beverage recall. In addition, the amount of profit companies must lose over recalled products must be motivation enough to want to right the problem here. Where does the solution come?

Until then, Powder & Bulk Solids will continue to bring you the updated monthly FDA and USDA recalls. And I, for one, hope that this type of recall will cease to exist from the list, soon.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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