Panera Bread Serves Peanut Butter to Five-Year-Old with Peanut Allergy, Gets Sued

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In late January, Panera Bread served a grilled cheese sandwich with peanut butter in it to a five-year-old girl with a peanut allergy, causing the girl to be hospitalized overnight. The family of the girl is now suing Panera Bread for negligence, according to The Boston Globe.

In January, the girl’s mother ordered a grilled cheese sandwich from the Panera Bread website and specified twice in her order that the sandwich was for someone with a peanut allergy. Instead, the sandwich came “with a large dollop of peanut butter inside,” according to the complaint. The manager of the Natick, Mass. store that served the sandwich apologized to the family and “blamed the incident on a language issue” that may have been caused by an employee who knew limited English.

This is not the first time that Panera Bread has experienced this, according to Elissa and John Russo, the family suing the restaurant chain. The family found a similar incident that occurred in a Panera Bread nearby that caused a child to go into an anaphylactic shock after eating a grilled cheese sandwich with peanut butter, despite having a peanut allergy. They discovered this incident through a post in a private Facebook group, “No Nuts Moms.” However, the post has since been deleted.

When told about the lawsuit, Mitchell Roberts, the operating partner of PR Restaurants, which owns Panera Bread, told The Boston Globe, “They’re saying there were two different cases at two different restaurants of ours where someone ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and said they had a peanut allergy and they were served grilled cheese sandwiches with peanut butter in them? That doesn’t sound feasible.” One would hope it wouldn’t be, but here we are.

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