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Woman Swaps Out Her Roommate’s Food With Vegan, Ends Up Charged With A Felony
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Food, People5 months ago

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.

Some commenters thought that the author did the right thing

However, some thought the author acted like a jerk

And some people said that everyone was wrong in this situation

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Pungent Sauce
Community Member
5 months ago

Roommate situation with deadly allergies and nobody tells the new girl? New girl sucks, but the lack of responsibility on all parties involved here is stupefying.

Lillukka79
Community Member
5 months ago

That is the reason I'm calling bs on this one. Anybody with anaphylaxis will tell cos their life depends on it.

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Mad Dragon
Community Member
5 months ago

OP absolutely should have disclosed her allergies, no matter what the food was. My son has a life-threatening allergy to pineapple, and the very first thing he tells people when they invite him to have a meal is, “Just so you know, I have a very severe allergy to pineapple.” Before he sits down, he then reminds them of the allergy and asks about the ingredients of anything he’s not sure about. It may have saved his life one time when the host did not realize there was pineapple in the bottled sauce she used on the chicken; only discovering it when my son asked to read the ingredients off the bottle. Yes, roommate is the a**hole for pulling the bait-and-switch, but OP is responsible for informing anyone serving her food that she has an allergy that can kill her.

Cold Contagious
Community Member
5 months ago

The thing I have the most problem with is the fact that someone believes fake bacon is real pork bacon 🥓 😐. I've seen it all and eaten tons of different brands and not one kind of fake bacon remotely looks like real pork bacon. It looks closer to begging strips for dogs, honestly. I have a hard time finding it believable that the OP didn't really question the authenticity of the meat based on looks alone, not to mention the smell is far different also. This is just nuts.

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RP
Community Member
5 months ago

As a vegetarian, I would have been furious if the roles were reversed and someone had tricked me into eating meat. I would never, ever lie to someone about food. It is an aboslute no-go (you never know who might have allergies or relgious reasons for not eating certain foods, especially 'unclean' meats like pig meat). Allergies aside, the new flatmate was absolutely in the wrong and suing for the medical costs seems reasonable. Having her charged with a felony is completely over the top though. Everyone is a bit stupid at that age and being sued would have been 'lesson' enough. A felony will ruin her for life. The authorn should have informed her of any allergies before having the new flatmate move in, and defintely before letting her into the kitchen. I accidently sent my flatmate to hospital at that age because I didn't wash-up a jar of pesto and left it in the sink once. Thankfully we weren't in the USA. Anything can happen with allergies! It was irresponsible not to be clear on tha

Kai
Community Member
5 months ago

I totally agree with you. I have a severe allergy to camphor, which can be in medicines and cosmetics. I tell everybody I work with or live with that vicks vapor rub etc could be a hospital visit because I really want to avoid the experience. Most allergic people I know are pretty fast to put the info out there.

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rumade
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

I'm gluten intolerant. It's not really life threatening, but it is painful and unpleasant if I eat wheat, barley, or rye. If someone had *just moved in with me* and was cooking for me, it would be the first thing I mentioned. Yes, it's not cool that the roommate pretended the bacon was regular bacon- she could have said "would you like to try my meat free bacon?". But it's supremely uncool that OP escalated it to law enforcement over an act that was not malicious. A felony is a serious thing and closes so many doors for people.

Andy
Community Member
5 months ago

Was just coming to the comments section to basically say the same thing :) if you have a severe food allergy that should be the first thing you tell someone your going to live with, especially as it's a vegetarian so they will likely use soy a lot and there could be easily cross contamination. Was a childish and stupid thing for the roommate to do, but to take the repercussions to that extreme level is an extremely Ahole move

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Jaclyn Ciocco
Community Member
5 months ago

How is any adult in America not aware that ANY felony will keep you from getting a job? Anyone with An allergy like that shouldn’t eat food without disclosing it. Yes the roommate should have paid the hospital bills and that could have been done without calling the police. That girls life is ruined because she did something dumb. She didn’t intend to send you to the hospital. I hope this story is fake. It’s angering all around.

TheEffervescent13
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

This story is most likely made up. 1. Fake bacon never looks anything like real bacon 2. Someone with allergies shouldve said so when eating something cooked by a stranger. 3. If they didn't say anything about the allergies, I doubt a judge would give the accused a felony for Food Tampering. Hope this comment helps.

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John Baker
Community Member
5 months ago

"Erin" is an idiot, but OP is the asshole. I can see suing to recover medical expenses, but there was absolutely no need to file criminal charges. And where the hell did she get food tampering? "Erin" didn't knowingly add anything harmful to the food (nowhere is it indicated that she added anything at all). She didn't disclose the ingredients, but she doubtless would have had the OP made her allergies known. "Erin" was wrong, but there was no need to ruin her life for it.

SweetsEve
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

The OP cannot have her charged with food tampering. That is the number 1 tell that this story is false. Charges are determined by the DA. This situation describes a misdemeanor of criminal negligence at the most. That's only because the roommate "fibbed". The OP said she asked what the meal was and Erin said bacon. Any defense lawyer would eat the this story for breakfast, by asking if there is anything truly criminal about a roommate calling immitation bacon, bacon, especially without knowledge of a food allergy, that the OP did not mention when the roommate offered to make breakfast and the OP agreed to let her make it and then consume it. THERE WAS NO FOOD TAMPERING. Also I find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that anyone deathly allergic to soy wouldn't have an eppi pin on the house.

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ERIKA H.
Community Member
5 months ago

OP is definitely an a**hole. I understand making her pay for your bills and suing her for refusing to. But a felony charge is not cool. You ruined her life because YOU didn't disclose your DEADLY allergic to soy. My friend is deadly allergic to pork, and ALWAYS discloses that anytime she isn't preparing her own food. If someone makes her chicken with broccoli she'll be like, "fyi, I'm literally deathly allergic to pork". This has saved her numerous times. In that instance the person was like, "oh my god! I'm so glad you told me. I actually used leftover bacon fat for roasting the broccoli"

Helen Haley
Community Member
5 months ago

Especially with something as common as soy! Soy is in everything! Most of the time not a main ingredient, but it is still in there somehow.

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Paula Marowsky
Community Member
5 months ago

Like OP would care about anyone besides herself. She didn't mind to ruin and f**k someone's life because her own "mistake" (sure... "forgeting" to tell the one who is cooking for them in their own apartament about their deathly alergies sound very inocent... Right?) It seems OP hadn't any clear o good intention by the beginning, first reporting it to the police and only THEN asking about paying medical debt. Seems she was really aiming hard to ruin Erin's life. And NOW she asks she is the a*s? Should have asked BEFORE ruining the poor roommate's life.

Samara Morgan
Community Member
5 months ago

I agree, OP is a monster or a complete idiot who expects the whole world to know everything about them.

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the annoying theatre kid
Community Member
5 months ago

as someone who has deadly allergies. esh. erin for tricking op and op for not didclosing her allergies. everyone who has deadly allergies knows the number one rule: if someone makes food for you, TELL THEM YOUR ALLERGIES!!!!

Nicole A
Community Member
5 months ago

And the number 2 rule is to check the ingredients yourself because it's not the cook's responsibility to know every alternate name an allergen might be called. I've had people (even ones in medicine) say yeah white flour is safe for my wheat allergy. I say no, it's the same wheat grain. These people aren't trying to kill me, they just don't realize things, so as the one with the allergies I always double check.

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Mark Berry
Community Member
5 months ago

You can tell what fake bacon looks like immediately. My family calls it "fakon". The smell and taste are obviously off as well. For some it may be a substitute, but it really isn't a match. I have a hard time seeing how this got by you.

Frozengeckolover
Community Member
5 months ago

I concur. I tried going vegetarian, and I hated the taste of fakon I also hate turkey bacon. I'm still tripping about the part of the story where OP says "I started eating and everything tastes a little off.", but THEY KEEP EATING. Why would they keep eating if everything tasted off?!?!?!

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julia
Community Member
5 months ago

Definitely both are the assholes here. The roommate is at fault for feeding OP something that she lied about, but also OP is at fault for not disclosing allergies, which could’ve gotten her killed. If it weren’t for OPs stupidity, the roomate would not have served OP an allergen and this whole mess could’ve been avoided. Yes, sure, food tampering is a felony (and rightfully so) but not mentioning allergies is a very stupid thing to do especially if you know that it could cause such a grave reaction. ESH

John Baker
Community Member
5 months ago

"Erin" didn't knowingly and deliberately add a foreign substance she knew to be harmful to the food. She didn't add anything at all to it. Simply not disclosing the ingredients (when she wasn't asked to begin with and wasn't aware of any reason why she should) is not food tampering. I don't know where the OP got that nonsense.

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Heather G
Community Member
5 months ago

I'm unsure if she is the AH. The vegetarian is definetly the AH for not disclosing the info. Vegetarian definetly should foot the medical bill. I get that the only way to make a justified sue a sure thing is to press charges. But, the legal consequences Vegetarian faced seem extreme. Especially since OP didn't say "The reason why I'm asking abou the food is I'm deathly allergic to a few things." She's telling the internet her allergies so it's not that private. If you have deathly allergies and roomates, you should tell the roomates what they are. A vegitarian is going to cook soy food. There could be cross examination. It's your business to inform of allergies. Not there's to try to find out.

Frozengeckolover
Community Member
5 months ago

Yep. You should definitely tell roommates your allergies. However, I repeatedly tell people I live what I'm allergic to, and they repeatedly forget. "Just want to remind you that I'm allergic to raw tomatoes." Roommate makes salad with tomatoes in it. "Jesus, Brad! We just talk about this, like, five minutes ago!" Brad's dumb*as response: "I forgot. You could just pick them out." No, Brad! I can't! (Brad no longer lives here.)

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Jods
Community Member
5 months ago

The author should have made it patently clear to the new housemate of her allergies before she moved in. The roommate did pull a nasty type of trick but she did not have the intention to make you ill, she simply did not know of the author’s allergy to soya. Also, why did the author not have instant access to an epi pen? I think the author should be ashamed for putting someone into financial difficulties and do something to alleviate Erin’s hardship even after such a long time. The author cannot assume everyone knows of her allergies, it her responsibility to inform people.

Vladimíra Matejová
Community Member
5 months ago

I say YTA. I get that you got to the hospital which was unpleasant and life threatening and also expensive ( Long live the US). BUT she didnt mean to cause any harm she just wanted to surprise you and see if you like vegetarian food or not. she wanted your unbiased genuine reaction. You sholud have agreed ( ideally without police and court) that she would cover your medical bills plus maybe some extra money for the trouble. I dont exactly know what is inluded in felony but it sounds as something from the criminal code. Her life is now ruined completely. You should have told her about your allergies and if you saw something is off with the bacon you should have asked if it is meatless or regular. she said it was bacon and for her it was. it is called bacon so for her it is bacon she wasnt lying. it was natural for her. you did not wonder that a vegetarian is cooking with meat? you should have explicitely asked about soy. it was a typical vegetarian d**k move but YT bigger A than her.

Imogene Cargeaux
Community Member
5 months ago

Okay but OP also knew this girl was a vegetarian... why would a vegetarian go out and buy tons of meat to make a bunch of strangers breakfast.... like, I think that there were plenty of context clues pointing at what she was doing and all of this could have been avoided is OP just said "ok, I'm not allergic to bacon but i Am extremely allergic to soy so if you're making anything with soy please tell me" And can someone please show me where to get FAKE bacon that actually looks and tastes like real bacon? Because I've been mainly plant based for years and I haven't found one fake bacon product that doesn't look/smell/taste like the furthest thing from bacon... fake bacon looks SO much different than real bacon. How could you not tell?

Geoff Witthoeft
Community Member
5 months ago

Agree 100%. Maybe they're Canadian?

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Michaela
Community Member
5 months ago

This sounds so very fake. If you have a major food allergy, you tell people you live with.

Nicole A
Community Member
5 months ago

Plus you have Epi-pens, liquid and chewable Benadryl, and Prednisone all on hand (even out of the house) to start when the allergy pops up. If she had done any of those things she would have avoided a 2 day hospital stay. Plus if she's that highly allergic, why didn't she start to react while the food is cooking? My roommates knew my allergies and would warn me so I could stay out if they were cooking fish. Plus I would take a dose of Benadryl as a preventative before stepping foot in the house (or even eating out, which I rarely do because I take responsibility for my allergies).

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v
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

The only point that I can see that OP is, truly, ATA is that she didn't disclose her allergies at the start. If she is as deathly allergic as she says any cross contamination would result in the same thing happening. The onus is on her to protect herself. It's amazing the comments I see crucifying the roommate along with OP while holding OP out as a blameless victim.

Noreen mahoney
Community Member
5 months ago

You are absolutely the ass hole. You idiot you have a life threatening food allergy to one or maybe more food items and u never told your room mate. The girl just moved in.. How was she supposed to know. You need to mention this immediately to everyone who knows u. And teach them how to use the pen. Why didn't u examine all the ingredients yourself. Processed food has a million items many with 2 names and to someone with no allergies this would never cross their mind before they are told. She should have been told as soon as she walked in the door so that she never left the soy or whatever It was lying around or came in contact with any of your stuff or in case of something like a spillage soshe knew the importance of cross contamination. But no instead u sat down asked her what was in it and never told her your allergy situation and ate the food.... Every idiot out there knows vegans substitute meat/meals for other items like soy or god knows what. Anyone with an allergy will say it

Tami
Community Member
5 months ago

New roomates should immediately share information about any health conditions they have. So then if you see them collapsed on the floor you might have an idea about what's going on to tell the paramedics or possibly give the correct life-saving aid yourself.

Lumiere
Community Member
5 months ago

The op is definitely at fault imo. I bet she lies in her bed every night, feeling like sh*t about ruining Erin's life

ZAPanda
Community Member
5 months ago

Ive got tons of allergies and I am leaning towards middle here. OP did overkill in response, but OP should have disclosed allergies (like I do). Erin shouldn't have lied, but since there's no intent to harm via an attack on allergies, going to cops is overkill. Making her pay for the hospital visit is reasonable. In my own case I had something like this happen at a restaurant. They didn't disclose a deadly ingredient. Instead of being an asshole and suing them for the hospital visit, I realised I was an idiot for not checking, so I didn't sue. However in this case the person lied and deserved the lawsuit at least.

CanadianPanda
Community Member
5 months ago

Both parties are AH. Roommate is an AH for attempting to trick the other two girls into thinking their eating meat when it's not. However, OP is AH for taking such a drastic measure in handling the situation which resulted one person's life is ruined. I just feel this could've been handled in much better way that could beneficial and fair for both parties.

CanadianPanda
Community Member
5 months ago

*They're (teehee!)

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DC
Community Member
5 months ago

Two stupids at least. Assholes - one at least. OP is.

DC
Community Member
5 months ago

+ how come I never get any allergic reactions anymore, despite having some allergies? I tell every doctor I visit to NEVER ever prescribe me Ibuprofen, other NSAR and a few other pretty common meds I am allergic to. Also, an allergy test a few years ago showed a slight reaction to chicken's egg, but as I was a vegan already then, I don't know ... doc said it may be bad, it may be insignificant, but as I won't try above trace-level eggs being in any food, ... I guess I'm kinda safe (at least, the traces that MAY be inside stuff either aren't there at all - purposefuly put in, I am sure aren't - , or not enough to cause a reaction, which tells me that is isn't severe).

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Denise Lewis
Community Member
5 months ago

she should have told the girl about her food allergies when she moved in and before any food was put in the fridge what would have happened if some of food cross contaminated and she had eaten this food and was alone she might have died because she wouldn't have known what she ate i don't understand why she did not tell this girl when moving in hey im allergic to certain things if your food contains any of that to keep it away from hers it could have avoided this whole situation and the other girls life wouldn't be ruined and she would not have almost died

SilentBob731
Community Member
5 months ago

This is why I only eat free-range vegetarians.

Frozengeckolover
Community Member
5 months ago

But they contain lots of soy; so, still not good for OP.

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J S
Community Member
5 months ago

If this is real, know karma is too. I've done nice things for people & ended up with nothing, literally nothing for helping. I pray you get the karma you deserve for screwing up someone's life. Every time you have an allergic reaction, I pray you know you deserve it. You didn't specify allergies, which is life threatening, therefore, she didn't have to specify every detail either. You lied by omission & should be counter sued. I would be the lawyer to do just that. This post proves you lied by omission & that's all the judge would need to see. How about we help this women give you a dose of your own medicine.

Abstrakt Drey
Community Member
5 months ago

You're definitely the bitch in this situation. You ruined years off that girls life because she was a little quirky in her decision making. Obviously she was trying to be nice to you - but also that fun roommate that brings new things to the table (pun intended) as a way to start conversation. The responsibility of letting people know your allergies fell every bit on your shoulders. But dude.. You took her to COURT as if this was planned like she **tried** to poison you! What the f*** is wrong with you? What if you made that mistake? If you were in her shoes would you say your treatment was justified? Lol I bet you're the type of person who demands a free meal at a restaurant when your steak isn't cooked the exact way you like it. So tired of f****** Karen's, go eat some soy.

Chucky Cheezburger
Community Member
5 months ago

Wow...I think everyone is an A.H., bit the O.P. is a big,nasty one with pus oozing roids and moldy dingleberries. Erin shouldn't have tried to slip the fake stuff in for the "gotcha, it's vegan and you liked it so now this can be a meat free house" agenda crap...But O.P. has a potentially fatal allergy to soy and took in a VEGAN roommate. Did they not realize that Erin's vegan food, which is very likely to contain soy, would be in the kitchen and possibly mixing with the non soy food? Did that thought ever cross their mind? I would think most folks that have a serious allergy to something would want to keep it out of the house as much as possible. How was the subject not brought up during the roommate interview? That's why I think O.P. is the biggest A.H. of the 2.

Joe Reaves
Community Member
5 months ago

Why would you let a vegetarian move in with you without telling them about your allergy if you're deathly allergic to soy? You know that it's probably going to be a large part of their cuisine and theres a risk of cross contamination. Deliberately lying about the food you're serving is a d**k move and the person who lied should absolutely have been sued for the medical costs but going to law enforcement was a bit far.

UpQuarkDownQuark
Community Member
5 months ago

This sounds like a whole bunch of assholes having breakfast together. Sue for medical bills? Yes. Felony food tampering? Give me a f*****g break.

FailBunny17
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

I'm deathly allergic to 2 things and everyone knows it and knows where my epipen is. If I fail to tell someone I'm deathly allergic to something and then go stuff my face with it I'm not going to be blaming and especially filing charges on the other person. Sounds like a c**t who doesn't like vegans. (not a vegan myself mind you, but wtf does it matter if she was vegan and moving in, sounds like she already had a problem.

Karina Carr
Community Member
5 months ago

Honestly, I think the entire thing is made up. There is absolutely no way a charge would stick when the girl was never told about the allergies. And no person with anaphylactic level allergies would eat something cooked by a stranger. Especially an ingredient like soy which is buried in SO many things. I have a sensitivity to soy, so I am well aware of how often it shows up in things. It's all bullshit. Period.

Konpat
Community Member
5 months ago

Not only should OP have told about her allergy, she should also have been extremely suspicious of a vegetarian cooking bacon for others. Not a single one of all the many vegetarians I know would ever do that, not even to just be polite. Also, it's hard to confuse with real bacon. And it tasted off, but she kept eating?! What a nasty person to not take any r