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Daily Harvest says 470 people reported illness from recalled lentil meals

Daily Harvest is recalling a lentil and leek crumbles dish after receiving 470 reports of illness, including gastrointestinal issues and potential liver damage, the vegan food service disclosed in a notice posted Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration.

Roughly 28,000 units of the recalled product were shipped to customers across the U.S. through online sales and direct delivery, as well as at the Daily Harvest store in Chicago, Illinois, and a "pop-up" store in Los Angeles, California, from April 28 to June 17, the company stated. Samples were also given to "a small number of consumers," according to Daily Harvest, which urged customers to check their freezers for the recalled product and discard it. 

Additional reports of people falling ill surfaced on TikTok after online influencers were sent the product as part of a public relations campaign by Daily Harvest. In a video posted on TikTok, creative director Abigail Silverman described being hospitalized with severe gastrointestinal pain a day after consuming the crumbles. 

French Lentil + Leek Crumbles in a frozen product packaged in a 12-ounce white pouch with the words "Daily Harvest" at the top, a large "CRUMBLES" below it and the words "French Lentil + Leek" in bold, with all lots of the product affected.

Recalled product. U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Daily Harvest issued its recall after customers also took their complaints to social media after eating the company's French Lentil and Leek crumbles. Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and Twitter users reported symptoms including nausea, vomiting and liver damage after eating the dish. One Reddit user wrote that their spouse had experienced "extreme fatigue, dark urine, low-grade fever and whole-body itching with no rash."

Daily Harvest advised people to throw out the product in an earlier notice posted on its website. It also said it had reached out to customers that purchased it.

"We've received customer reports of French Lentil + Leek Crumbles causing gastrointestinal issues," the company stated. "We simultaneously launched an investigation with internal and external experts throughout our supply chain and in accordance with regulatory procedures."

Beyond the complaints of illness, some found the company's approach to announcing its recall to be less than tasteful.

A backlash on social media ensued after Daily Harvest posted a publicity shot of the recalled dish to its 600,000 Instagram followers with the caption, "An important message regarding our French Lentil + Leek Crumbles. Link in bio with details." 

One observer tweeted "Link in bio with details about why your liver is failing #dailyharvest." 

Another commenter offered the company's post as a case study of how not to handle such situations, tweeting, "... posting an aesthetically pleasing photo advertising a product with a vague 'link in bio' is definitely not the vibe."

Started in 2015, Daily Harvest is a food subscription company that ships frozen, organic pre-made food products to certain zip codes around the country. Celebrity investors in the company include Serena Williams and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The French Lentil and Leek Crumbles were introduced in April as a food to cook and add to other dishes or products, according to the company.

Daily Harvest did not respond to a request for further comment, nor did the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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