FDA is investigating an unusual outbreak of what it has characterized as “adverse reactions” to Daily Harvest brand frozen French Lentil and Leek Crumbles after consumers complained about gastrointestinal illnesses and abnormal liver function. In spite of exhaustive testing, the source of contamination has not yet been identified.
As of July 7, 2022, FDA has received 133 consumer complaints against the direct-to-consumer meal service company, with 42 people stating that they required hospitalization. Symptoms include severe bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, whole-body itching, dizziness, fever, dark urine, nausea, and headache. Abnormal liver function has been seen in some cases, and there are reports that some patients have required gall-bladder removal. Daily Harvest has received upward of 470 complaints as well,and is cooperating with FDA to identify the source of contamination.
Attorney Bill Marler of the law firm Marker Clark, is also conducting an investigation after filing the first lawsuit against Daily Harvest on June 27, 2022. More lawsuits have been filed representing more than 201 people who have become ill after consuming the product.
Between April 28 and June 17, 2022, approximately 28,000 packages of the recalled product were distributed to consumers in the United States through online sales and direct delivery, as well as through retail sales at the Daily Harvest store in Chicago, and a “pop-up” store in Los Angeles, the company stated in a press release. The voluntary recall was announced by Daily Harvest on June 23.
On July 1, Rachel Drori, Daily Harvest CEO, noted that the company was conducting “exhaustive testing” but has still not identified a possible cause. “I am sorry that it’s taking as long as it is to pinpoint exactly what may have made people sick,” she said. “We are deeply committed to finding answers for those impacted. We’re working with top doctors, microbiologists, toxicologists, as well as three independent labs.”
States where people have experienced problems include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. No other Daily Harvest products are believed to be impacted, with the company noting that it is confident the issue is limited to the French Lentil and Leek Crumbles and none of its other menu items.
The Daily Harvest recall notice recommends consumers destroy any products they cannot return. This is a common practice, but in this case, Marler is recommending that consumers hold on to any affected product, especially if unopened, so that it can be tested.