Man files lawsuit against NYC McDonald’s alleging serious allergic reactions

In a recent legal action that has garnered considerable attention, Charles Olsen, a 28-year-old from Rockland County, New York, has initiated a lawsuit against the fast-food giant McDonald’s. This legal battle stems from a severe allergic reaction Olsen experienced after consuming a Big Mac that, contrary to his specific request, contained a slice of American cheese.

The incident, which took place in February 2021, nearly resulted in a fatal anaphylactic shock for Olsen, highlighting the life-threatening dangers individuals with severe allergies face due to food contaminants.

Olsen had placed his order through the popular food delivery app DoorDash, specifying “NO American Cheese” on his Big Mac. Despite this clear instruction, the burger he received from the McDonald’s location at 335 Eighth Avenue in New York City contained cheese, triggering an immediate and severe allergic reaction.

This reaction included symptoms such as itching and swelling of the throat, a burning sensation throughout his body, hives, feverishness, heavy and congested breathing, wheezing, and gasping for air—classic signs of anaphylaxis, a rapid onset allergic reaction that can be fatal if not treated promptly.

The seriousness of Olsen’s condition necessitated urgent medical intervention, and he was rushed to the hospital by his girlfriend, Alexandra. There, he was treated for anaphylaxis, a condition where swift medical response is critical to prevent catastrophic outcomes such as respiratory failure or even death.

Olsen’s legal complaint emphasizes the absence of any allergy warnings or cross-contamination cautions at the time of placing the order, underlining a significant concern regarding food safety and allergen management in the food service industry.

The lawsuit against McDonald’s not only seeks justice for Olsen’s near-fatal experience but also aims to spotlight the critical need for food establishments to uphold stringent allergen control measures.

Olsen’s case underscores the importance of accurate ingredient listing, the inclusion of allergen-related options in order menus, and the necessity for staff training in allergen management to prevent such dangerous incidents.

The McDonald’s franchise involved in this incident, owned by The Colley Group, has faced scrutiny, though they have stated that customer safety is their utmost priority and are reviewing the claims made. This legal case adds to the broader conversation on food allergy awareness, the responsibilities of food service providers, and the mechanisms needed to protect consumers with allergies.

Olsen’s traumatic experience and subsequent lawsuit against McDonald’s serve as a potent reminder of the risks associated with food allergies and the critical importance of vigilance and strict adherence to customer specifications by food service establishments​

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