A Michigan woman has sued Jimmy John’s for putting Dijon mustard on her sandwich, saying the mixed-up order has left her with severe emotional distress and unable to work, the Detroit Free Press is reporting.
Lindsey Bresnahan says she went to a Comstock Park (in suburban Grand Rapids) Jimmy John’s location on June 2 and ordered a Billy Club sandwich. She maintains that she expressly told the staff not to put mayonnaise or Dijon mustard on the sandwich because she has severe food allergies.
Ever sense I told my dad that I worked at jimmy johns he takes a selfie in front of everyone he sees one pic.twitter.com/mt0kf2oW2z
— Poseidon (@anthonykorkois) October 24, 2016
After one bite of the sandwich, Bresnahan says she realized Jimmy John’s had made a terrible mistake. She says that, almost immediately, she started showing symptoms of an allergic reaction: watery eyes, difficulty breathing, the sense that her throat was “closing up.” She took an over-the-counter allergy reliever — Benadryl — and continued working, thinking she could power through it.
Later that afternoon, she went to see her doctor for an unrelated issue, and the doctor told her to “keep taking Benadryl.” However, by the next day, when she was out of town, she continued to experience vomiting and “violent” coughing.
“By the time she returned to Michigan on Sunday, she was barely able to speak.”
The not-being-able-to-speak part is a severe problem for Ms. Bresnahan. At the time of her fateful Jimmy John’s order, she was working as a customer service representative at a loan office — a job that required telephone contact with customers. Now, she claims, she is unable to speak above a whisper, resulting in the loss of her job. She is now living on disability benefits.
Further, she says, the allergic reaction to the Dijon mustard has caused “emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment and an inability to conduct normal activities of daily living,” according to her lawsuit.
According to the U.K.-based Anaphylaxis Campaign, mustard and its varieties and derivatives — including Dijon mustard — is a major source of food allergies in Europe, particularly in France and Spain, where mustard figures prominently in the local cuisine.
“Mustard is one of 14 major allergens that must be declared in the ingredient lists whenever they appear in prepacked food… Reactions to mustard, when they do occur, can be severe.”
In fact, symptoms of an allergic reaction to mustard are not unlike those of a reaction to more typical allergens, like nuts or eggs. Symptoms can include itching, rash, watery eyes, and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing and/or anaphylactic shock, both of which can lead to death, according to Medical News.
“If severe allergic reactions occur, the patient must carry self-injectable epinephrine for emergency use as soon as symptoms appear. The patient must be hospitalized immediately afterwards for further treatment or observation.”
This is not the first time a fast-food outlet has been sued for putting an allergen on a product for a customer who had specifically asked for it to be excluded. In June of 2016, according to this Inquisitr report, a Massachusetts family sued Panera bread for putting peanut butter on a child’s grilled cheese sandwich, even though the family specifically asked that they not put it on the sandwich.
— Boston.com (@BostonDotCom) June 6, 2016
“[The online order twice said] ‘peanut allergy.’ Did they just see ‘peanut’ and not the ‘allergy’ part? Is this somebody doing this on purpose? Because it’s two freakin’ tablespoons of peanut butter on this sandwich and it’s a grilled cheese.”
Back in Michigan, Lindsey Bresnahan wants Jimmy John’s to take better steps to train its employees on food allergies.
[Featured Image by Ken Wolter/Shutterstock]