Daily Harvest hit by lawsuits from people who say they had their gallbladders removed after consuming its product | CNN Business


Days after meal-kit service Daily Harvest announced a voluntary recall of one of its products, the company has been hit with two lawsuits from people who say they had their gallbladders removed. after consuming it.

Daily Harvest, a direct-to-consumer brand that relied on a network of online influencers to promote its products, announced earlier this month the voluntary recall of its French lentil and leek crumbles after people who have consumed it have reported falling ill. Several influencers told CNN Business last week that they spent time in the hospital with mysterious symptoms that puzzled doctors, including severe gastrointestinal pain and extremely high liver enzymes.

Portland content creator Luke Wesley Pearson filed a personal injury lawsuit against Daily Harvest in an Oregon court on Wednesday. The complaint states that Pearson was in good health and had no significant medical conditions prior to consuming the crumbs.

“After consuming Daily Harvest Lentil Crumbles, Plaintiff became seriously ill, required hospitalization and had his gallbladder surgically removed,” the complaint states. The lawsuit also alleges Daily Harvest failed to do enough to warn people of the dangers of its product and “issued vague and insufficient warnings to its customers and influencers.”

Carol Ann Ready, a Daily Harvest customer, the company is also suing after saying she was also hospitalized and had her gallbladder removed after consuming the crumbs. The complaint recounts two visits to the emergency room in May after consuming the product twice. She described her pain as “9 or 10 out of 10,” the complaint states.

Ready was eventually diagnosed with liver and gallbladder dysfunction and doctors said the recommended course of action was to have his gallbladder removed, according to the complaint. She underwent surgery to have her gallbladder removed on June 24, according to court documents.

In a statement on Thursday, Daily Harvest said it was not commenting on ongoing litigation, but highlighted steps it had taken to deal with “an adverse reaction” to its French lentil and leek crumbles.

“We have contacted consumers who have received the product several times directly, asking them to dispose of it and not eat it. In parallel, we have launched an investigation to identify the root cause, in close collaboration with the FDA, several independent laboratories and an expert group including microbiologists, toxin and pathogen experts as well as allergists,” said the company in a press release. “All pathogen and toxicology results have come back negative so far, but we are continuing to do extensive testing so we can get to the bottom of it. Everyone who has been affected deserves a response, and we are committed to addressing it. »

Last week, the company posted an update on its website stating that it had received approximately 470 reports of illness or adverse reactions and that approximately 28,000 units of the recalled product had been distributed to customers in the United States. United from April 28 to June 17.

Daily Harvest founder and CEO Rachel Drori said in an update Monday that the company was “working 24 hours a day, seven days a week” to determine the root cause of the health issues. She said she was also cooperating with a US Food and Drug Administration investigation. “I recognize this is so frustrating. I am incredibly frustrated,” Drori wrote. “We will continue to share more information as it becomes available. You can expect to hear from us as soon as we know more.

The FDA did not immediately respond to CNN Business’ request for comment on Thursday. Last week, the agency said it could not confirm or deny whether an investigation was underway that was not already listed on its website. He added, however, that when consumer-specific guidelines can be developed, the FDA and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will issue outbreak advisories communicating those guidelines to the public.

Daily Harvest was launched in 2016 and gained internet notoriety after recruiting a large number of social media influencers to help with its marketing. The company said last November that it had secured Series D funding that valued it at more than $1 billion.

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