Rise in Illness and Hospitalizations Linked to Vegan Lentil Product

Key Takeaways:

  • A specific vegan lentil product has caused hospitalizations and illnesses across at least 26 states, leading to lawsuits against the company including a notable case involving a breastfeeding infant.
  • The company involved has submitted to rigorous testing to rule out potential causes and insists the product doesn’t contain traces of pesticides or known allergens. Despite this, the FDA has advised against consumption, sale, or serving of the product.
  • Severe health issues reported by consumers include gastrointestinal distress, severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and in some cases, resulted in the removal of gallbladders.
  • The FDA is collaboratively working with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the outbreak while the company has attempted to contact affected customers and issue a credit.
  • Consumers who consumed the product and experience symptoms like yellowing of the skin/eyes, dark urine, itching without a rash, digestive disorders, nausea, fatigue, body aches, severe abdominal pain, and fever are advised to seek medical help immediately.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed that almost 100 people have been hospitalized and several hundred have reported illnesses across at least 26 states, which are tied to the consumption of a lentil-based product from a certain vegan food delivery company.

Consequences are escalating for the company, which initially recalled its French Lentil + Leek Crumbles on June 23.

Vegan Food Company Faces Legal Action

After a woman from Oklahoma lawfully sued the company in June, pointing to the product as the source of a multitude of health issues including gastrointestinal illness and liver and gallbladder dysfunction, a series of lawsuits have emerged against the vegan food brand, including a notable case involving a breastfeeding infant.

In the highlighted lawsuit, both the infant and mother became ill and required hospitalization, after the mother consumed the lentil dish at the end of May and in early June. The baby reportedly suffered from vomiting, diarrhea, and dark urine after the mother consumed the product and breastfed the child.

After consuming the lentil dish again in June, the mother required hospitalization due to severe abdominal pain and gastrointestinal distress. Meanwhile, the infant also started showing symptoms including vomiting, fever, and digestive discomfort. The lawsuit stated that the mother continued to breastfeed during her hospitalization, as doctors were uncertain about the cause of her illness.

Company’s Response and Submission to Rigorous Testing

The company announced recently that it has embarked on comprehensive testing to dismiss potential causes, underlining that “detailed scientific procedures necessitate substantial laboratory analysis”.

The company has ruled out a host of illnesses and allergens in their initial tests, and confirmed that there were no traces of pesticides in their product.

While the company is undergoing careful testing, the FDA urges consumers, retailers, and others not to eat, sell or serve the product. The popular vegan food item has gained traction on social media platforms and was distributed nationwide. The FDA also announced that the most recent illness due to the product was reported on July 9.

Personal Accounts and Removal of Gallbladders

Apart from gastrointestinal distress, severe abdominal pain, and vomiting, some consumers needed their gallbladders removed as a result. A North Carolina woman told reporters that she thought she was having a heart attack after consuming the product. Despite having no preexisting health conditions, she spent four days in the hospital undergoing tests for her swollen liver and abnormal liver enzymes. Her gallbladder had to be removed.

A legal dispute against the company was initiated after an Oklahoma woman ended up in the emergency room twice after ingesting the crumbles. She also had abnormal liver enzymes and her gallbladder was removed as well.

Investigation by Federal Authorities

The FDA is working closely with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate this outbreak. An estimate of 28,000 units of the product were sent to customers in the US between April 28 and June 17.

The company, which touts its products as “vegan friendly”, marketed them through online sales, direct deliveries, its retail store in Chicago, and pop-up store in Los Angeles.

The company has contacted the consumers they could track and issued a credit. The FDA charges that consumers who might still have the product in their freezers should discard it immediately.

All lot codes of the French Lentil + Leek Crumbles are affected. This product comes in a 12-ounce white pouch with the words “Daily Harvest” displayed on top, a large “CRUMBLES” phrase below the top, and the words “French Lentil + Leek” appearing in bold.

Advice to Consumers and Health Care Providers

The FDA emphasized that anyone who experiences symptoms such as yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), dark urine, itching without a rash, digestive disorders, nausea, fatigue, body aches, severe abdominal pain and/or fever after consuming this product should seek help from their health care provider promptly.

Health care providers are advised to report these illnesses to their local health department.

Emma Caplan

Hola from sunny Costa Rica! I’m Emma Caplan, a California native turned Costa Rican resident. With over a decade of writing experience under my belt, I’ve crafted stories, articles, and narratives on a multitude of subjects. But at heart, health and lifestyle topics resonate the most with me.Not just a writer by profession, I'm an athlete by passion. CrossFit challenges and exhilarates me, shaping both my physical stamina and my perspective on life. I love intertwining my firsthand experiences from the box with my pieces, giving readers a unique blend of authenticity and expertise.Married and fully immersed in the pura vida lifestyle, I've found the perfect balance between my personal and professional life in this tropical paradise. Whether you're here for tips, insights, or stories, I’m committed to delivering content that informs, inspires, and perhaps even pushes you to try that one workout you've been hesitating to start.Join me in my journey as I explore the nexus between physical wellbeing and the art of writing. Let's sweat, learn, and grow together!
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