These Daily Harvest customers say the brand's crushed lentils sent them to the hospital with extreme pain and liver damage. Now, they want answers.

Daily Harvest, a meal delivery service, is facing strong opposition after many customers complained about a serious side effect of consuming its products.

On Sunday, the company, which sells plant-based products such as bowls and smoothies, sent an email to consumers instructing them not to eat and discard frozen French lentils + chopped chives because "a few" people have reported "gastrointestinal distress." The message was sent out of "extreme caution," it said.

"As included in our cooking instructions, lentils must be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F," the email reads. "Like some other legumes, raw lentils contain a protein that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms unless cooked thoroughly."

Social media, however, tells a different story. On the same day she sent the email, Cosmopolitan's creative director Abigail Silverman shared on TikTok that she was "shaking" after reading the Daily Harvest email - because it explained how she had been "shaking" in the past. -as it explained the health crisis she's been dealing with for the past month. Received press materials from Daily Harvest. (Yahoo Life reached out to Silverman, but did not hear back.)

"I started to feel stomach pains and stomach aches and went to the emergency room in the middle of the night," she recalls in the video. "While I was in the ER, they couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. My liver levels were elevated, and then I had some bacteria in my urine."

Ultimately, doctors couldn't figure out exactly what the problem was or what the cause was. But once Silverman read Daily Harvest's email, she realized she wasn't the only one dealing with extreme symptoms after consuming the product. Social media posts in which Silverman shared screenshots in her TikTok showed dozens of people sharing details of their extreme pain and trips to the hospital, as well as elevated liver levels.

Caroline Sweet, an actress, writer and producer who lives in Los Angeles, is one such person who shared her experience on social media. By phone, Sweet explained to Yahoo Life that she made empanadas last Tuesday night using Daily Harvest products and experienced strange symptoms for more than a week. Just hours after eating dinner, her body began to feel cramps in her stomach, almost at her diaphragm. By morning, she said the pain felt like the "most intense stomach cramp" she had ever had and brought tears to her eyes. A few hours later, she had a fever of 102 degrees. For the next two days, she could barely get out of bed.

On Saturday, when she began to feel better, she noticed that her urine was very dark - despite her emphasis on electrolyte replacement. Her stool was white. It was then that she decided to go to the emergency room.

"I don't know what it is, but something that comes from white poop isn't good," she told Yahoo Lifestyle. "Like, what if it's my gallbladder. What if it's cancer?"

After completing the test, she learned she had elevated liver enzymes.

Then, just after she completed her abdominal scan, she received the email.

"I threw my phone in the hospital bedroom," she says. "It was all these pieces. …… It was crazy. As I was laying in the hospital, the email was like, "Some people have mild gastrointestinal distress." That's minimization."

Sweet, who was released from the hospital that day, is feeling better now, but this week she is having her liver checked. Mostly, she's just trying to figure out what caused her condition. She says she found a community on Reddit where many people shared details of suffering from the same symptoms, and some of them are being tested for collapse. So far, however, no one has shared the results.

Jenna Dargenzio, a Los Angeles-based content creator and jewelry maker, also experienced terrible symptoms after eating French lentils + chopped chives, but didn't connect the dots until she saw Silverman's TikTok. She also received an early PR package from the company in May, more than a month before Daily Harvest sent its warning email. A few hours after dinner, D'Aguenzio told Yahoo Life that she went to the hospital for suffering the "most unbearable pain" she had ever experienced.

The emergency room doctors suspected she had a urinary tract infection (UTI), but after examining her, they couldn't find any answers about her symptoms. They put her on morphine, but, she said, her pain suddenly flared up. She went home in extreme pain and later returned to the emergency room, where they did a CT scan - but found no answers.

Because Dargenzio never had a reason to blame French lentil + chive crumble for her symptoms, she didn't throw the product away, as the company now suggests. Then her husband, Mark, ate the crumble. dargenzio says he has had his own symptoms, including severe itching, which could be a sign of liver disease. He is still waiting for the results of his tests. dargenzio is also seeking answers and says her doctor has ordered stool samples after her endoscopy returned to normal.

Luke Wesley Pearson , an influencer in Portland, Oregon, who promotes healthy living and a vegan diet, was also disturbed to learn that his health problems may have stemmed from the crushed French lentils + chives he received in his PR packet in early May. After receiving an email from Daily Harvest, he posted his TikTok explaining that he, too, was experiencing extreme symptoms. While he dealt with his diaphragmatic pain on May 29, which had him tossing and turning all night after eating the crumbs, it got worse after eating the crumbs again on June 6. In addition to mild extreme stomach pain a week earlier, his new symptoms included fever, body aches and chills.

In an email to Yahoo Life, Pearson explained, "On June 8, I went to the doctor's office because I am now suffering from the worst bilateral back pain of my life, which started while I was sleeping. My wife had to help me stand up and sit for three days, and I couldn't lie flat during that time because of the intense pain. My urine was very dark and the soles of my feet and hands were very itchy. During this doctor's visit, I had blood work and a urinalysis. Here I learned that my liver enzymes were extremely elevated in the 400-700s and my bilirubin was very high."

He was sent home and told to return to the emergency room if things got worse. on June 9, he went in for a CT scan, and in the evening it was discovered that his skin and eyes were yellow, which could be a sign of jaundice or a serious problem such as hepatitis, gallstones and a tumor.

"I called my doctor the next morning, June 10, to let her know, and she said I needed to go to the emergency room. I went to the ER and had about 26 hours of tests before being admitted to the hospital," he wrote. "During my tests, I tested negative for hepatitis, COVID, kidney infection, kidney stones and urinary tract infection. Despite the lack of gallbladder pain, the doctors at the hospital thought I might have gallstones coming out and blocking the ducts, causing my liver enzymes to rise, and that I must have passed naturally. Ultimately, there was never any evidence to prove this, but as a precaution, and based on the information they had, they recommended removing my gallbladder to relieve the symptoms and prevent this from happening again. [On] June 12, I had the surgery. Because we had ruled out so many things by this point.

Since Pearson says he eats lentils regularly, he didn't think food poisoning was the cause of his problem. the Daily Harvest product never crossed Pearson's mind-until a friend sent him Silverman's video.

"When I started watching it, I was lying in bed and then immediately sat up. I was just like wait wait wait …… And then it clicked," he said. "My wife, Kelsey, remembers standing in the kitchen eating breadcrumbs when I started having symptoms on June 6, and then I remembered what I was eating on May 29 when I had my first stomach pain. In that moment, everything was just right, and in the midst of trying to recover from surgery, it all became very overwhelming and traumatic. But I will say that after hearing from so many others who have experienced this, it has been validated as well."

Dr. Siyab Panhwar, an internist, cardiology researcher and public health advocate who has not treated any of Daily Harvest's clients, said the cases appear to represent "acute food poisoning.

He told Yahoo Lifestyle, "Obviously, it's too early to confidently state the exact cause of this situation, but my best guess is contamination with toxins, such as mold, spoiled ingredients, at one or more of the many manufacturing/packaging/transportation steps." . "Acute liver injury appears to be temporary, thank goodness - it could be caused by any number of toxins that cause some damage to the liver and will eventually recover. Liver injury requires inpatient monitoring. Whether any long-term damage will occur remains to be seen, although I don't doubt there will be."

Gastroenterologist Dr. Rudolph Bedford, who also has not treated any patients with claims against Daily Harvest, says it can be challenging for doctors to diagnose the cause behind symptoms because by the time people arrive at the hospital for testing, "the causative agent, whether it's bacterial, viral or parasitic, may have cleared the system, but the effects are still there. "

Bedford said that while different bacteria can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, viruses such as hepatitis A can cause abnormal liver function.

"Any food poisoning will move through the system more quickly, but hepatitis A tends to persist," he explained. "Bacteria don't cause liver disease or damage because they don't act directly on the liver."

On social media, the company acknowledged the controversy by editing the title of a June 12 Instagram post that included their Walnut + Thyme Crumble to include, "Update 6/19: Important information about our French Lentil + Chives Crumble. Link to details in bio." The link in the bio points to a statement from Daily Harvest about health issues. The post has been removed.

In a June 21 statement to Yahoo Life, Daily Harvest said.

explained. "Bacteria don't cause liver disease or damage because they don't act directly on the liver."
On social media, the company acknowledged the controversy by editing the title of a June 12 Instagram post that included their Walnut + Thyme Crumble to include, "Update 6/19: Important information about our French Lentil + Chives Crumble. Link to details in bio." The link in the bio points to a statement from Daily Harvest about health issues. The post has been removed.
In a June 21 statement to Yahoo Life, Daily Harvest said.
Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our customers, and we value the trust you place in us and our food every day. We received reports from customers about French lentil + chive crumbles causing gastrointestinal problems. We took immediate steps to address what we heard from customers by contacting everyone who received French lentil + chive crumble and instructing them to dispose of the product rather than consume it. We also initiated an investigation with internal and external experts throughout our supply chain in accordance with regulatory procedures. We will share more information as soon as possible. Our mission has always been to take care of food and let food take care of you. This means that quality, safety and transparency have been and will always be our top priorities. If you have any French lentils + chopped chives, please discard them and do not consume them. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at hello@daily-harvest.com so we can contact you directly.

On June 22, the company shared a separate statement on Instagram addressing what it now calls a "voluntary recall.

Daily Harvest said it "launched an investigation to determine the root cause of the reported health issues" and is working with the FDA and independent labs and experts to "get to the bottom of it.

The FDA has not confirmed with Yahoo Life whether an investigation of Daily Harvest is underway.

" The FDA cannot confirm or deny whether an investigation is planned or underway, which is not yet listed in our outbreak questionnaire," it said in a June 21 email to Yahoo Life. "However, the FDA takes seriously reports of adulteration of food that could lead to illness or injury. Depending on the severity of the problem, FDA investigators may visit the person making the complaint, collect product samples and initiate an inspection. Complaints that are less serious in nature or that appear to be isolated incidents are monitored, and this information may be used in future inspections of the company to help FDA identify problem areas in manufacturing plants. During these inspections, the complaints are also discussed with company management. It is also important to note that when specific consumer guidance can be developed (e.g., avoiding specific contaminated foods), FDA and CDC will issue outbreak advisories that communicate that guidance."

According to Pearson, Daily Harvest is not doing enough to address what he sees as a very worrisome health crisis. "To put it bluntly," he said, "they haven't done enough."

"People are being hospitalized for potential liver damage, and others like me may be having their gallbladders removed," he says. "Our doctors don't know what to test for because we don't know the cause - we need to know what the results of the test are so we can seek the appropriate treatment for ourselves. This company should be health-focused. Their website says, "From seed to plate, we are committed to building a better food system, one that prioritizes the health of people and the planet." Their response (or lack thereof) is not a priority for human health. We deserve answers."

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