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Daily Harvest Lentils Illness

Posted in Our Blog,Outbreaks & Recalls on June 27, 2022

Daily Harvest, Inc., of New York City, New York issued a voluntary recall on June 23, 2022 for all lots of their French Lentil + Leek Crumbles due to gastrointestinal illness and potential liver function issues. Here’s what we know about these Daily Harvest Lentils Illness:

About Daily Harvest

Daily Harvest is a mail order plant-based, organic food delivery company that delivers a variety of frozen meals to your door.  This trendy company initially got their start from influencers, and this same mode might be the end of them as well.

FDA Recall

According to current FDA recall information, from April 28 to June 17, 2022, approximately 28,000 units of this recalled product was distributed to consumers between online sales, direct home delivery, retail sales at their Daily Harvest store in Chicago, Illinois, a “pop-up” store in Los Angeles, California, and samples.

So far, the company has received 470 reports of illness or adverse reaction after consuming the product.

Serious and Permanent Damage in this Daily Harvest Lentils Illness

When the company sent out the email indicating that “A small number of customers have reported gastrointestinal discomfort after consuming our French Lentil + Leek Crumbles” it was truly an understatement.  Many of the consumers experienced so severe of illness that their gallbladders had to be removed.

Healthy 30-Year Old Hospitalized

Luke Pearson, vegan lifestyle influencer provided his story to Rolling Stone.  He received a PR package from the company including the now recalled product.  About 20 minutes after eating the product he indicated feeling “excruciating, all-over stomach pain.”  He said he didn’t think anything of the lentils, because he eats lentils all the time.

After developing fever and chills, his wife convinced him to seek medical attention.  His liver enzymes were elevated and a CT scan suggested that he could have gallstones.  Over the next couple of days more symptoms occurred.  His urine darkened and he developed jaundice – a yellowing of the skin and eyes that often indicates liver or gallbladder problems.

Just six days after consuming the product, doctors elected to remove his gallbladder as a precaution.  They were unable to completely understand the cause of his illness at the time, but with certain test results and symptoms pointing tot gallstones and his continued decline, it was the best option.

“Something just didn’t feel right,” Pearson told Rolling Stone.  “I am a healthy 30-year-old.  I exercise four to five times a week, I eat plant-based, and I haven’t drunk alcohol in three years.   I haven’t had so much as a cold in seven or more years.  I don’t get sick.”

Unfortunately, the removal of his gallbladder will likely contribute to many health obstacles in the future.

Consumer Feels Company is Passing the Blame

After disregarding the initial email that looked similar to all of their other promotional emails, Zoë Aarts was not aware of the immediate concerns for the problem.  After seeing reports on social media, she went back and read the email sent out on June 17, that indicated “A small number of customers have reported gastrointestinal discomfort after consuming our French Lentil + Leek Crumbles.

The email went on to say,

“As included in our cooking instructions, lentils must be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 oF.  Like some other legumes, raw lentils contain a type of protein that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms unless thoroughly cooked.”

 Aarts felt like the company was shifting blame to the consumer.  “They were kind of implicating the customer in not cooking them correctly, but I definitely di because I cook a lot of vegetarian stuff,” says Aarts who has a gluten allergy and vegetarian.  She indicated that she sautéed the product until they started to crip and even to the point of blackening a bit because she knows that lentils need to be cooked thoroughly.

Despite Presenting User Preparation Error, Some Were Sickened After Eating from Company’s Pop-Up Event

After attending the company’s May launch event in Los Angeles, one consumer indicated a mild stomach ache that day after eating the product that was already made at the event.

“They had it made in a taco form, so the they had the crumbles, and like, avocado, and I want to say lettuce.”  Despite the upset stomach, she didn’t think anything of it because it wasn’t any ingredients she was unfamiliar with.

She received more of the crumbles in a gift bag from the event.  After cooking it up for her girlfriend and friend later, everyone got sick.  She didn’t expect that it was the lentils meal, just as others had because it was a healthy, vegan meal.  “We just chalked it up to like, oh, maybe it’s the oil that we cook with, or whatever,” she says.

Daily Harvest Indicates Steps They are Taking

According to the company’s website, they are taking steps to remedy the issue and respond to the reports of illness.

Their recall page indicated the following activities:

  • Launched a voluntary recall after receiving reports suggesting a possible link between French Lentil + Leek Crumbles and an adverse reaction.
  • Reached out to consumers who received the product asking customers, “If you have French Lentil + Leek Crumbles, please dispose of them and do not eat them.”
  • Launched an investigation to identify the root cause of the health issues reported including working with the FDA and multiple independent labs along with microbiologist, toxin and pathogen experts, and allergists.
  • Extensive testing continues, though all pathogen and toxicology results have come back negative.
  • Continue to keep in touch directly with consumers who reported adverse reactions.

More Cases Coming Forward

As more people are posting their experiences on social media such as Tik Tok and Instagram, awareness of the link between severe gastrointestinal problems and the product, more cases are coming forward from those that didn’t make that initial connection before.  The problem could be much wider than it already is with so many more people experiencing similar issues.  Some of which could be life altering.

How The Lange Law Firm Can Help

Our mission is to help families who have been harmed by contaminated food or water.  When corporations cause food poisoning outbreaks, we use the law to hold them accountable.  The Lange Law Firm is the only law firm in the nation solely focused on helping families in food poisoning lawsuits and contaminated water lawsuits.

If you got food poisoning in this Daily Harvest Lentils Illness and are interested in making a legal claim for compensation, we can help.  Our lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your food poisoning.  Call us for a free no obligation legal consultation at (833) 330-3663 or send us an e-mail here.

By: Heather Van Tassell