Family Suing Panera Franchisee Over Grilled Cheese With Peanut Butter Served To Allergic Child

Image courtesy of Eric Spiegel

Generally, you would assume that a grilled cheese sandwich wouldn’t contain any peanut butter, but a family near Boston had a terrible scare when their daughter, who is allergic to peanuts, bit into a grilled cheese sandwich with a dollop of peanut butter in the middle. Now they’re suing the restaurant’s operator over the incident.

Out of an abundance of caution, the family explained to the Boston Globe, they put a note on the online order that the child is allergic to peanuts: this warning might keep the kitchen staff from preparing her sandwich next to a peanut butter one, for example, or maybe remind the employee to change his or her gloves before making it.

The girl’s father says that the store manager said there was a “language issue,” where an employee apparently misinterpreted the words “peanut allergy” as “put a big old dollop of peanut butter on there.”

The family only shared the story with people close to them until they learned that about a month later, the same thing happened to another peanut-allergic child at a Panera owned by the same franchisee. That couldn’t be a coincidence, right? Either this owner has a terrible recipe for grilled cheese sandwiches, or there’s something strange going on.

“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?” the co-owner of the restaurant asked the Globe. “That doesn’t sound feasible.”

The co-owner also said that he wasn’t aware of the lawsuit, which was filed the morning that he was interviewed. A spokesperson for Panera declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Panera sued over sandwich served to child with allergy [Boston Globe]