Daily Harvest Recalls Lentil Crumbles After 470 Illnesses Reported

The vegan meal kit company has recalled 28,000 French Lentil + Leek Crumbles as customers post accounts of severe symptoms online.

The meal kit delivery service Daily Harvest sets itself apart from competitors like HelloFresh and Blue Apron by focusing on vegan foods prepared only with organic fruits and vegetables. But despite its healthy claims, the company is now dealing with a severe health scare, recalling their recently-released French Lentil + Leek Crumbles after customers complained of stomach and liver issues — with some alleging they have suffered permanent damage.

The FDA posted the announcement yesterday: Approximately 28,000 units of Daily Harvest's French Lentil + Leek Crumbles — either delivered, sold, or provided as samples from April 28 to June 17, 2022 — have been recalled with the official reason cited as "consumer reports of gastrointestinal illness and potential liver function issues."

The frozen item is packaged in a 12-ounce white pouch labeled "Crumbles" with the words "French Lentil + Leek" appearing bolded in text below. And though Daily Harvest says none of its other products are affected as part of the recall, all French Lentil + Leek Crumbles should be immediately thrown away. The company says they have "directly notified by email those consumers who were shipped the affected product" and issued them a credit.

Alarmingly, the recall states that "approximately 470 reports of illness or adverse reactions" have been received by the company. And many of the anecdotal claims online are shocking.

In a two-minute-plus video on TikTok that's been viewed over 800,000 times, Abigail Silverman, digital creative director at Cosmopolitan, detailed a month-long health battle she's been fighting since eating the product. And in a thread on the Daily Harvest subreddit about "Extreme stomach pain/sickness from lentil+leek crumbles," among other issues, multiple users have said they've had to have their gallbladders removed. In that same thread, which was started over a week before the recall, commenters use the word "liver" over 100 times, with many specifically saying they had elevated liver enzymes after consuming the crumble.

Daily Harvest said in the recall that they "have taken immediate steps to stop production and distribution of the product and conduct a root cause investigation, which is ongoing." And back on Reddit, one commenter said that an FDA investigator had even come to their home and collected their crumbles as well as a neighbor's.

A Daily Harvest box on a doorstep
A Daily Harvest meal kit is visible in a white cardboard box on the front step of a home in Lafayette, California, October 14, 2021. Gado / Contributor/ Getty Images

But others wonder if Daily Harvest have properly dealt with the issue, which they've known about since at least June 19 when the company first posted about it on their website. The Los Angeles Times pointed to an email from the company sent to influencers suggesting that customers may have simply undercooked the product. "They have done nothing but try to pin this back on consumers," one Reddit user wrote. "They only made the recall after the social media storm."

When directly asked about the criticism that Daily Harvest didn't act fast enough on the recall, a spokesperson declined to comment. However, the company did explain that the voluntary recall was initially enacted on June 17 — and since the service is direct-to-customer, every customer who received the product should have been notified. Additionally, an investigation into the cause was launched that same day.

Daily Harvest also offered a reminder that, since being founded in 2015, the company has sold approximately 120 million items.

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