Two people have filed lawsuits against meal-kit service Daily Harvest after they were left with no choice but to have their gallbladders removed after consuming the company’s new product called French Lentil and Leek Crumbles.
What is Daily Harvest?
Founded in 2015 by Rachel Drori, Daily Harvest is a provider of subscription-based, direct-to-consumer healthy frozen foods, including smoothies, soups, bowls, lattes, and breakfast options, enabling its members to eat pre-portioned foods without having to cook. Delivered to the doorsteps of the subscribers, the company’s products are built on organic fruits and vegetables and are ready to enjoy in just minutes.
Much of the brand’s success was linked to its aggressive social media campaigns that tap a network of online influencers to promote its products. In addition to influencers with huge social media followings, the company has also had a number of celebrity backers, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Serena Williams.
Daily Harvest’s French Lentil and Leek Crumbles
French Lentil and Leek Crumbles is the company’s newest product. It’s also the reason the firm is currently facing a firestorm of backlash.
On June 26th, Daily Harvest issued a voluntary recall of the lentil-based product, after a number of people who consumed it reported becoming ill with grave gastrointestinal discomfort and extremely elevated liver enzymes.
A couple of days after, two people sued Daily Harvest because of what happened to them after consuming the French Lentil and Leek Crumbles.
Lawsuits against Daily Harvest
Luke Wesley Pearson, a content creator from Portland, filed a personal injury lawsuit against the company in an Oregon court on June 29th. The suit points out that Pearson was healthy and had no significant health problems before eating the crumbles.
“After consuming the Daily Harvest Lentil Crumbles, plaintiff became violently ill, required hospitalization and endured the surgical removal of his gallbladder,” says the complaint. It also accuses Daily Harvest of not doing enough to warn people about the dangers of the product, noting that the company only “issued vaguely worded and insufficient warnings to its customers and influencers.”
Daily Harvest customer, Carol Ann Ready, also filed a lawsuit against Daily Harvest after she was hospitalized and had her gallbladder removed after consuming the crumbles. The suit recounts two emergency room visits in May after consuming the crumbles twice, describing her pain as “a 9 or 10 out of 10.”
Soon after hospitalization, Ready was diagnosed with liver and gallbladder dysfunction. And since the only recommended medical course of action was to remove her gallbladder, the complainant ultimately underwent surgery to have her gallbladder removed on June 24th.
Daily Harvest on its legal troubles
On June 30th, Daily Harvest issued a statement saying that it does not comment on pending litigation. But the company stressed the steps it has taken so far to resolve the situation surrounding its French Lentil and Leek Crumbles.
“We have reached out multiple times directly to consumers who received the product, instructing them to dispose of it and not eat it. In parallel, we launched an investigation to identify the root cause, working closely with the FDA, multiple independent labs, and a group of experts that includes microbiologists, toxin and pathogen experts as well as allergists,” Daily Harvest said in the statement. “All pathogen and toxicology results have come back negative so far, but we’re continuing to do extensive testing so we can get to the bottom of this. Everyone who has been affected deserves an answer, and we are committed to making this right.”
Last Monday, Drori said in an update that Daily Harvest is “working 24 hours a day, seven days a week” to find out the root cause behind the health issues. “I recognize this is so frustrating. I am incredibly frustrated” she wrote. “We’ll continue to share more information as it becomes available. You can expect to hear from us as soon as we know more.”