US food startup Daily Harvest criticised for food poisoning scandal

A vegan meal delivery startup in the US has come under fire after dozens of customers complained on social media of severe gastrointestinal and liver issues after consuming one of the company’s products.

Daily Harvest, which has been backed by celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Serena Williams, issued a recall on its French Lentil and Leek Crumbles product after droves of customers took to Twitter, Instagram and Reddit to complain.

The billion-dollar frozen food company sent an email to subscribers last week advising them to throw away the product and offered US$10 (£8.18) for every bag purchased, according to NBC News.

It later published a statement on its website and said: “We simultaneously launched an investigation with internal and external experts throughout our supply chain and in accordance with regulatory procedures.

“We will share more information as soon as it’s available.”

The French Lentil and Leek Crumbles are no longer available to buy on the Daily Harvest website and the product description now says: “This item is temporarily discontinued. Please dispose of this item and do not eat it.”

Some social media users claimed that eating the product resulted in distressing food poisoning symptoms including nausea and vomiting, as well as liver damage.

One Reddit user wrote that their mother experienced “terrible and debilitating” sickness after eating the dish, and said she “was sick as a dog and was puking a lot”.

Another claimed that their wife had to be hospitalised with “liver damage” due to the dish, as she “developed symptoms consistent with severe liver problems – extreme fatigue, dark urine, low-grade fever, and whole-body itching with no rash”.

A Twitter user said they had “been sick off and on for weeks” due to Daily Harvest products, and another said they were “hospitalised twice in the past week from this”.

Daily Harvest was further criticised after it published an Instagram post asking its 600,000 followers to visit their “link in bio for details” instead of divulging the information in the caption.

The post featured a photograph of another Daily Harvest product and a link to its shop.

The startup was accused of prioritising its “social media aesthetics” over customers’ health.

“This is a really awful way to handle an extreme health risk caused by your foods – ‘link in bio for details’ is not the way to do this,” one person commented on the post.

“Why are you treating this like a PR stunt? How dare you,” another said.

The Independent has contacted Daily Harvest and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for comment.

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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