Report: Family suing Panera over dangerous grilled cheese mix-up

A Natick family is suing Panera Bread after they say a young girl with a peanut allergy was given a grilled cheese sandwich that contained peanut butter.

The family said it happened at the end of January when Elissa Russo ordered online from the Panera in Natick. According to the Boston Globe, the family ordered the sandwich online and specifically noted, twice, that the grilled cheese was for a child with a peanut allergy.

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It wasn't until the five-year-old child took a bite of the sandwich that her parents saw it had a dollop of peanut butter inside. Their daughter was rushed to the hospital and ended up spending the night.

John Russo told the Boston Globe that he called the Panera that night and asked the manager, "Is someone doing this on purpose? Because it's two freakin' table spoons of peanut butter on this sandwich, and it's a grilled cheese."

John Russo said the manager apologized and blamed the mistake on a language issue. The manager suggested a worker with limited English saw the peanut notation and added it to the sandwich instead of keeping it out.

According to the lawsuit, a similar mistake happened a month later at the Wayland Panera. A grilled cheese arrived with peanut butter and caused a child to suffer an anaphylactic reaction.

Panera does post a warning that it cannot guarantee foods will be free of allergens because of shared equipment, but the Russo's attorney said this isn't a case of accidental cross contamination.