Daily Harvest found ingredient that left 450 people sick

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And that’s the way the Crumbles crumbled.

Meal kit delivery brand Daily Harvest has provided new details regarding a mysterious illness caused by one of its products, which left more than 450 of its customers sick or hospitalized — including one woman who was allegedly forced to have her gallbladder removed as a result.

On Tuesday, the company released an update, penned by CEO Rachel Drori, to announce the culmination of an “extensive investigation” on its French Lentil + Leek Crumbles.

Working with the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other experts, they identified tara flour, made from the seeds of tara trees, as the sole source of the pathogen that was affecting hundreds of its consumers.

Daily Harvest began its apology with a beleaguered reintroduction:

“Hi, it’s Rachel. I started Daily Harvest in 2015 with the mission to make it easier to eat more sustainable fruits and vegetables every day that make you and our planet healthier,” began Drori, who went on to call her job a “privilege.”

“I’ve never taken this lightly. And it’s why I’m reaching out today with the current results of the investigation into our recent recall,” she continued.

In her message, Drori explained that the ingredient was recently introduced to its line, with their new French Lentil + Leek Crumbles being the first to use it.

“We are no longer sourcing from this [tara flour] producer who does not provide any ingredients for our 140+ other items,” Drori assured. “Our investigation team will continue working with the FDA, the tara flour producer and others to help determine what specifically made people sick.”

Tara trees and shrubs are native to Peru. The pulverized seeds are sought after as a thickening agent — tara gum — in food production.
Getty Images/iStockphoto
Daily Harvest's Crumbles products
Daily Harvest issued a voluntary recall of their French Lentil + Leek Crumbles on June 17, following viral reports on social media from sick customers.
Daily Harvest

They did not share the name or location of the tara flour source, nor is it clear what, exactly, about the ingredient was making people sick.

Tara trees and shrubs are native to Peru. The pulverized seeds are sought after as a thickening agent — tara gum — in food production.

The company issued a voluntary recall on June 17 following a wave of reports of illness on social media by those who were trying their Crumbles product for the first time. Among those who fell ill was Cosmopolitan’s digital creative director Abigail Silverman, whose TikTok went viral with 1.3 million views. Just a few spoonfuls of the dish landed her in the ER.

Abby Silverman
Cosmopolitan’s digital creative director Abigail Silverman racked up 1.3 million views on TikTok after putting Daily Harvest on blast for putting her in the hospital.
TikTok / @abby.silverman

Daily Harvest vowed to investigate the issue soon after the onslaught of complaints. Meanwhile, Carol Ann Ready of Tulsa, Okla., has sued the company after the Crumbles caused her severe “liver and gallbladder dysfunction,” leading to gallbladder removal and days in the hospital.

Ready’s lawsuit is expected to be the first among dozens of similar suits from others who ate Daily Harvest’s French Lentil + Leek Crumbles.

The direct-to-consumer retailer was valued at $1.1 billion in 2021 with help from a slew of celebrity backers, including Serena Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bobby Flay and Shaun White.

In their July 19 update, Daily Harvest again directed any additional customers who have questions or illnesses to report to contact [email protected]

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