Woman Swaps Out Her Roommate’s Food With Vegan, Ends Up Charged With A Felony
If you’ve ever had a food allergy, you know how serious it may be. It occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to certain proteins in food, and the reactions may vary from hives and lip swelling to even life-threatening symptoms that may involve fatal respiratory problems and shock known as anaphylaxis.
But this story posted on r/AITA which started with one roommate’s allergy to soy products has many more layers to it. “The next day after she moved in, she cooked breakfast for us. I was surprised,” the author recounted the morning with her new vegan roommate named Erin. But it turned out that unbeknownst to Erin, the author was “deathly allergic to a few things,” and soy products were one of them.
“I start eating and everything tastes a little off. At this point, she does a “‘Ta da’ and smugly told us ‘I bet it tastes exactly like meat,’” the author said. As you can imagine, this didn’t go well. Not only did the author have to stay in a hospital for 2 days due to her allergic reaction, but she also filed a complaint to the police.
But this was far from the end of the story, so read on below to find out how it escalated. Let me just tell you it involves a degree of felony.
Image credits: Thomas Park (not an actual photo)
Food tampering laws and related consequences do vary from state to state. For instance, California law (Penal Code Section 347) states that anyone who knowingly adds poison or a harmful substance to any food, drink, medicine, or pharmaceutical product where another person could be harmed is guilty of a felony punishable by a prison sentence of two to five years. If the substance could cause death or great bodily injury to a person, an additional three years is added to the sentence.
According to the United States Department of Justice, Subsection (a) of 18 U.S.C. § 1365 “prohibits tampering or attempted tampering with any consumer product that affects interstate or foreign commerce, or with the labeling of, or the container for, such a product. The tampering must be done with reckless disregard for the risk that another person will be placed in danger of death or bodily injury. Furthermore, the tampering must be done under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the risk of death or bodily injury.”
Image credits: Olga Kononenko (not an actual photo)
However, we do not know whether this particular case involved food tampering and though the author of the post mentioned that “food tampering is a felony,” she didn’t explain how that related to the incident.
For anyone with a severe food allergy, consuming food with an allergen in it, even the smallest amounts of it, can be extremely dangerous. This may happen though the manufacturing process or during the food preparation process.
Image credits: Sandra Dempsey (not an actual photo)
When it comes to the author’s allergy, an allergy to soy, it is a common food allergy to soybean products. Often, soy allergy starts in infancy with reaction to soy-based infant formula. Although most children outgrow soy allergy, some carry the allergy into adulthood. Mild signs and symptoms of soy allergy include hives or itching in and around the mouth.
Even though a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is rare with soy allergy, according to Mayo Clinic, it’s more likely to occur in people who also have asthma or who are allergic to other foods besides soy, such as peanuts. Anaphylaxis causes more extreme signs and symptoms, including: difficulty breathing, caused by throat swelling; shock, with a severe drop in blood pressure; rapid pulse; dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness.
The author clarified a couple of details to the commenters
Certain factors may put you at greater risk of developing a soy allergy, like family history. You’re at increased risk of allergy to soy or other foods if other allergies, such as hay fever, asthma, hives or eczema, are common in your family. Another common factor is age since soy allergy is most common in children, especially toddlers and infants. Other allergies may also put the person at risk of having soy allergy.
According to the Mayo Clinic, in some cases, people who are allergic to wheat, beans (legumes), milk or other foods can also have an allergic reaction to soy. Also, people who are allergic to soy may have test results showing allergy to other legumes, but may be able to eat them with no problem.