Daily Harvest, the popular plant-based food subscription delivery service, is dealing with a crisis of nightmarish proportions. The food company founded by Rachel Drori in 2015 and hailed as a health-minded female-founded startup that quickly became a darling of VCs, raising $100 million in financing, has had to issue a voluntary recall of its French Lentil + Leek Crumbles, as customers began reporting on social media (Facebook, TikTok, and Reddit) that they have become seriously ill after eating the product.

Consumers of the Daily Harvest crumble took to social media in recent days to warn others about the crumbles. The symptoms have ranged from the dire, including a few reporting that they had had surgery to remove their gallbladders, to more mundane such as dark urine, fevers, and stomach cramps. In at least one case, liver damage resulted, and the consumers have said that their conditions have baffled their doctors.

On Facebook, One Woman Describes Having Her Gallbladder Removed

In a Facebook post Breeanne Buckley Peni describes suffering unbearable abdominal pain and having high liver enzymes, which resulted in her doctors removing her gallbladder:

"I recently was hospitalized and after many tests, scans, and scopes, they ultimately removed my gallbladder as they couldn’t determine the source of my pain and high liver enzymes. I did have this product and the description of what other people went through is too much to be coincidental. Please read if you or anyone you know might be affected. The crumbles were delicious by the way and I’ve really liked other products that I’ve tried from them. But WT actual F?"

Wrote One Daily Harvest Consumer on Reddit:

"Two weeks ago I tried the crumbles for the first time. That night, I had debilitating stomach pain, like nothing I had ever felt before. It was so bad I had to go to the ER as a last-ditch effort to alleviate and manage the pain. After a CT scan, IV, meds, and a week on a bland diet I thought perhaps it was some sort of bug.

Several days later I tried a flatbread from them and had a fever the next day. I thought it was related to the previous bout of illness.

Fast forward to yesterday, I decided to try the crumbles again. Lo and behold I am awake with the exact same horrible stomach pain. Luckily I have prescription meds from the last time this happened and do not need to go back to the ER.

The crumbles were the ONLY common denominator between the last stomach ache and this one. I believe this product has caused me debilitating stomach pain that has taken days to go away."

The company responded and brought in the FDA as well as independent labs to try to unearth what had gone so terribly wrong.

The Twitter feed of Daily Harvest is full of comments about the calamity. One suggested that they might have contamination in the supply chain. That comment suggests this explanation:

Have you tested your products for amatoxin poisoning? You need to. And not just the crumbles. If your supply is contaminated with amatoxin, people may die. You are not taking this seriously enough. 

It then links to an NIH site that explains amatoxin in mushrooms can cause liver damage and freezing or cooking the product will not help reduce the risk.

Daily Harvest Responds to Reports of Illness from French Lentil + Leek Crumbles

In a statement from Rachel Drori, CEO and founder of the company that began as a simple frozen smoothie and soup delivery service, the email she sent out read:

We want to make sure you have the latest update on our voluntary recall of French Lentil + Leek Crumbles. 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.

Here are the steps we are taking:

  • As soon as we received reports suggesting a possible link between the French Lentil + Leek Crumbles and an adverse reaction, we immediately took action and launched a voluntary recall. 

  • We have reached out multiple times directly to consumers who received the product, instructing them to dispose of it and not eat it. If you have French Lentil + Leek Crumbles, please dispose of them and do not eat them. The last thing we’d want is for anyone else to be impacted.

  • In parallel, we launched an investigation to identify the root cause of the health issues being reported. We’re working closely with the FDA and with multiple independent labs to investigate this. We are working with a group of experts to help us get to the bottom of this—that includes microbiologists, toxin and pathogen experts as well as allergists. 

  • All pathogen and toxicology results have come back negative so far, but we’re continuing to do extensive testing and will keep you updated.

  • We are in touch directly with customers who reported adverse reactions and are collecting data to further the investigation, as well as offering refunds. If you have been impacted and are not already in touch with our team, please go here to begin a report or email us at crumbles-recall@daily-harvest.com

We are doing everything we can, as quickly as we can to identify the root cause. Nothing matters more than the health and safety of our customers and we deeply value the trust you put in us and our food every day. We will update you as soon as we know more. Please reach out if you have any questions.

Bottom Line: If you have Daily Harvest crumbles, throw them away.

The FDA only looks into products once there is a complaint. In all cases, when you choose to eat a food, it's buyer beware. That's why eating a whole food plant-based diet is the healthiest. Wash your greens and make sure to keep your surfaces clean and dry to avoid pathogens.

For more on how to eat healthily, check out The Beet's Health & Nutrition stories.

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