Update (June 27): Daily Harvest CEO Rachel Drori has shared a message on the advisory page mentioned below.
In an update posted at 3:30pm ET June 27, Daily Harvest CEO Rachel Drori released a statement regarding the company's recalled French Lentil + Leek Crumbles. The crumbles have caused about 470 people to experience a suite of different adverse reactions, ranging from nausea to several abdominal pain, elevated liver enzyme values--and for two customers, gallbladder surgery.
"We are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week on this. You deserve answers," Drori said in her opening. She admitted that even after working with the FDA, several state agencies, independent labs and experts, "we have not yet identified a cause." Extensive testing has been done for common food-borne pathogens, toxins and allergens, she said.
"I recognize this is so frustrating. I am incredibly frustrated," Drori said, noting more than once that the issue does not extend to their 100+ other menu offerings. She also laid out what the company is currently doing to investigate:
- The FDA and the state Department of Agriculture have each inspected the facility where the French Lentil + Leek Crumbles were manufactured.
- Testing is being conducted in partnership with ISO 17025 certified 3rd party laboratories on French Lentil + Leek Crumbles as well as the ingredients used in them.
- So far, testing has come back negative for food-borne pathogens including Listeria, E.Coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus Aureus (Staph), B.Cereus, and Clostridium Species. Testing on major allergens including egg, soy, milk, and gluten have also so far come back negative.
- We initiated testing for a wide range of toxins known as mycotoxins, including aflatoxins. The first round of testing on the most common have come back negative but we continue to cast a wider net to ensure we are not missing anything.
As the investigation has not yet identified a root cause, we are expanding our testing regimen to explore other potential, albeit less common, sources of contamination as well as protein and amino acid profiling.
Drori said some tests can be completed within 24-72 hours, but many tests can take as much as a week or more.
"We’ll continue to share more information as it becomes available. You can expect to hear from us as soon as we know more," Drori said.
Earlier, we shared:
Last week, Daily Harvest shared that they issued a recall for their French Lentil + Leek Crumbles, now that approximately 470 people have become ill after consuming the relatively new offering.
Hundreds of Daily Harvest subscribers who have eaten the crumbles have had a series of adverse reactions including severe abdominal pain, vomiting, low energy and more. Some have even reported liver function problems. "What started as extremely intense upper abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and fatigue took a dark turn with the test results for my liver enzymes," one customer wrote on Instagram, as reported by Bon Apetit. After seeking medical attention for the pain, he found out that his liver enzyme readings were abnormally high. He's since found others with similar reactions. "We are now waiting on answers as to what specifically contaminated the food, and whether or not we will be dealing with long term or permanent liver damage," the customer went on to say in his full Instagram post. Some customers have expressed concern that Daily Harvest did not take quicker and stronger action.
What does Daily Harvest say?
Late last week, Daily Harvest posted on their Instagram account about the situation. "We are taking this very seriously and doing everything we can to get to the bottom of this. Your health and well-being are our top priority," they said, saying that they'd contacted affected customers directly and are currently working with the FDA to find out the reason for the adverse reactions. They have also removed old posts related to the crumbles.
Daily Harvest also posted a press release to Instagram. In the release, they note they've received about 470 reports of illness or adverse reactions "due to reports of gastrointestinal issues and potential liver function issues." They state that between April 28 to June 17, 2022, approximately 28,000 of the crumbles were distributed to customers (who have since been notified via email). They say that a refund was given for the item and advise anyone with the crumbles to dispose of them. They add that no other Daily Harvest products are affected by this recall.
It's unknown what specifically has caused the health issues that customers are experiencing, but Bon Apetit notes that raw lentils aren't safe for consumption because the lectin protein they contain can cause toxic reactions. Daily Harvest says that "all pathogen and toxicology results have come back negative so far, but we’re continuing to do extensive testing and will keep you updated."
What should you do if you have the Daily Harvest French Lentil + Leek Crumbles?
Daily Harvest says they have reached out to those who purchased the crumbles already. Anyone experiencing symptoms should first contact their health care provider. If you do not have symptoms but still have the recalled product, dispose of the bag and check your Daily Harvest account; they say that customers have received a credit for the recalled product. (update: Drori says if you ordered the crumbles for an upcoming box they've been removed from your order.)
Daily Harvest also directs customers to their advisory page on the issue; customers can also call 1-888-302-0305, 9am to 9pm ET all week.