Daily Harvest customers flood social media with food poisoning claims after eating vegan lentil dish

At this time, the celebrity-backed vegan meal company said its unsure what has caused the sickness

Published June 22, 2022 5:00PM (EDT)

Red lentils in a black bowl shot from above on dark wooden table (Getty Images/fcafotodigital)
Red lentils in a black bowl shot from above on dark wooden table (Getty Images/fcafotodigital)

Fruits and vegetables — whether they are eaten raw or cooked — are known for being great sources of vitamins and minerals. But as the old adage goes, sometimes too much of a good thing can also be pretty bad.

Take it from Daily Harvest, the minimalistic vegan meal company that is currently under fire after numerous consumers claimed its now-discontinued French Lentil + Leek Crumbles caused severe gastrointestinal issues, including stomach pain, liver and gallbladder damage, and vomiting.

The complaints made rounds on Reddit, Twitter and Instagram, where individuals who ate the product — made from lentils, quinoa, hemp seeds, butternut squash, and cremini mushrooms — didn't shy away from detailing their symptoms.

RELATED: Everything you wanted to know about food poisoning but were too busy puking to ask

"What started as extremely intense upper abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and fatigue took a dark turn with the test results for my liver enzymes," wrote one user on Instagram. "The fatigue persisted for the next couple weeks and after almost a month I'm finally feeling like the energy levels are starting to come back."

Another user on Twitter wrote, "My friend was hospitalized with incredibly high liver enzymes. Her wife and children are both sick as well. The only thing they all have in common is that they [ate] the lentil crumbles from Daily Harvest."

On Reddit, a separate user said their wife was hospitalized after suffering from "extreme fatigue, dark urine, low-grade fever and whole-body itching with no rash."

Daily Harvest officially recalled its plant-based meat alternative dish on Friday in an email to subscribers instructing them to throw out the lentils. Per NBC News, the company also offered its customers a $10 credit for every bag of crumbles purchased.

"A small number of customers have reported gastrointestinal discomfort after consuming our French Lentil + Leek Crumbles," the email read. "As included in our cooking instructions, lentils must be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F."

Then, on Sunday, Daily Harvest released a public statement on its website telling customers "to please dispose of this item and do not eat it."

"We simultaneously launched an investigation with internal and external experts throughout our supply chain and in accordance with regulatory procedures," the company added without providing additional specifics.


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But the most bizarre moment in this fiasco arrived shortly afterwards, when Daily Harvest took to Instagram to post a promotional image of a bowl of spaghetti generously covered in the brand's Walnut + Thyme Crumbles. Alongside the visually enticing photo is a brief, vague caption updating followers with a link to an "important message" on the French Lentil + Leek Crumbles. The link, which is found on the company's bio, leads to a separate web page disclosing the product recall.

At this time, it's still unclear what has caused the sickness. Maybe it was a specific ingredient within the product or the consumption of raw lentils, which is unsafe and known to cause symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.

Daily Harvest has said that it will "share more information as soon as it's available."

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By Joy Saha

Joy Saha is a staff writer at Salon, covering Culture and Food. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Brief Daily Harvest Food Food Poisoning Lentils Plant-based Recall Social Media