We Finally Know Why Daily Harvest Meals Caused A Mysterious Illness

In late June, vegan meal delivery service Daily Harvest recalled its French Lentil + Leek Crumbles, a frozen product distributed throughout the United States between April 28 and June 17, 2022, according to the FDA. The recall was initiated after numerous customers reported gastrointestinal symptoms and acute metabolic issues (including liver dysfunction), after consuming the product. The company had distributed more than 28,000 units of the recalled product. By June 27, the first lawsuit related to the recall was filed by food safety law firm Marler Clark, on behalf of Carol Ann Ready. Ready, a consumer from Tulsa, Oklahoma purchased the Daily Harvest product online and was sickened soon after eating it, the firm says. She had to undergo gallbladder removal (per Marler Clark), a surgery associated with numerous health risks and consequences, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Daily Harvest says close to 500 people had reported falling ill after consuming the product, as of July 1 (via HealthDay). The Los Angeles Times reported this week that 96 people have been hospitalized over the recalled product. According to foodborne illness attorney Bill Marler, 30 of those hospitalized had to have their gallbladders removed and dozens of others have undergone invasive testing, including liver biopsy. Tuesday, Daily Harvest announced that it knows what's been causing the mysterious, and very serious, illnesses.

Daily Harvest traces issue back to tara flour

On July 19, Daily Harvest revealed that the cause of the mysterious illness related to its French Lentil + Leek Crumbles was identified as tara flour (per Daily Harvest). According to USA Today, tara flour is the powdery product of milling the seeds of tara trees, which are native to South America. "We have only used this ingredient in French Lentil + Leek Crumbles and we are no longer sourcing from this producer who does not provide any ingredients for our 140+ other items," writes company founder, Rachel Drori. She adds that tara flour has been used in North America as a plant-based protein prior to the company's use of the ingredient. 

She says that Daily Harvest, the FDA, and the producer of the tara flour are working to identify what made people sick, and that testing indicated the issue is isolated to the company's French Lentil + Leek Crumbles (via Daily Harvest). In the meantime, customers are urged to throw away any of the recalled product in their possession. In addition, Druri says that Daily Harvest will answer your questions and concerns via email at crumbles-recall@daily-harvest.com.