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Family Sues Publix Over Food Allergy Death

Family Sues Grocery Store Over Food Allergy Death of 11-Year-Old Son

The family of an 11-year-old boy is suing Publix grocery stores following their son's death from anaphylactic shock after he ate a cookie from the chain's Clarksville, TN, store. According to the lawsuit, on June 3, 2014, Derek "Landon" Wood visited the store with his mom and asked for a chocolate cookie called a "Chocolate Chew" at the bakery counter. Knowing that her son had had a tree nut allergy since he was 4 years old and not seeing any signs in the bakery, she asked the associate behind the counter if there were any tree nuts in the item. When the associate said no, they bought the cookie.

Once the family got home, the mother bit into the cookie and didn't find any nuts, so she handed it over to Landon. After three bites, he told his mom that his mouth was burning. The family tore the cookie apart and found walnuts in it. That's when the story took a fast turn for the worse. His mother gave him Benadryl, but his reaction did not subside. She administered his epinephrine pen to his thigh, and 911 responders were called. Landon convulsed, went unconscious, and was rushed to Gateway Medical Center before being helicoptered to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He died en route to the second hospital.

"This boy died a very horrible, slow death," said the family's attorney, Matt Abbott.

The Wood family is suing the grocery store to create more awareness of food allergies. "The purpose of the lawsuit is [to] raise the awareness of food allergens that are potentially fatal in children, to have Publix follow the federal law in labeling food allergens, and obtain some measure of compensation for the family," their attorney explained.

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