Daily Harvest CEO Addresses Lentil And Leek Item That Made Hundreds Ill

When it comes to horror stories about food delivery services, the Daily Harvest French Lentil + Leek Crumbles recall of 2022 is definitely one of the more memorable ones that come to mind. Being a health-conscious subscriber to a plant-based, environment-forward food delivery service and ending up in the ER with organ failure as a result isn't exactly a scenario anyone would want to entertain but one that hundreds of Daily Harvest customers unfortunately had to live through.

Now, a year after the recall — and subsequent lawsuit — Daily Harvest CEO Rachel Drori has spoken out for the first time since the crisis to address why and how it all went down. In an interview with Fast Company, Drori explains that the selection process that brought them to tara flour — the singular culprit that poisoned hundreds — was based on the company's search for "a source of protein with a very specific criteria." Namely, it wanted a natural ingredient that wasn't based on wheat, soy, and/or nuts, all common allergens that can be hard to avoid in plant-based diets. Tara flour was suggested as an alternative to Daily Harvest by one of its suppliers, and the rest is some very unfortunate history.

Drori claims that Daily Harvest is ready to turn the page on the crisis

According to Drori, Daily Harvest was started with "the very distinct mission to help people." With a seed-to-plate model that emphasizes regenerative agriculture, the company aims to boost the consumption of sustainably produced fruits and vegetables in the form of nutritious chef-made foods. In an ironic twist, it seems that this customer-forward attitude was exactly what led the company to put so many of its subscribers in danger by incorporating an untested ingredient that ultimately proved too good to be true. Tara flour, derived from the seeds of the South American tara tree, was "virtually unknown" at the time of its incorporation. Without the guarantee of FDA approval or widespread usage, Daily Harvest didn't know this one ingredient would cause such catastrophic issues. In one extreme case, a digital influencer claimed they had an organ surgically removed after consuming the product just twice.

While no amount of good intentions can undo liver damage, Drori claims the company has taken every effort to ensure this kind of crisis never happens again. Daily Harvest has "augmented" its ingredient sourcing policies to never include ingredients that have not been "widely and safely used in the United States." Apparently, the food delivery service is confident in its new safety measures and loyal customer base and will be offering its selection in a national grocery chain in the near future. Hopefully, Daily Harvest will be able to leave the Crumbles crisis as an unfortunate cautionary tale.