Amid recall, Daily Harvest employee said they didn't have 'manpower' to call 16,000 customers

Melanie Woodrow Image
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
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A Daily Harvest employee told a customer the company had no manpower to call customers who may have eaten a recalled product linked to sick customers.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Daily Harvest employee told a customer the company didn't have the manpower to call thousands of customers who may have eaten a recalled product that's been linked to customers who have gotten sick. Last month, Daily Harvest recalled its French Lentil + Leek crumbles after hundreds of customers were hospitalized and in some cases had their gallbladders removed after eating the product.

In an update about the Daily Harvest French Lentil + Leek crumbles investigation put out by CEO Rachel Drori Tuesday, she shares testing to date has ruled out Hepatitis A, Norovirus, toxins, food-borne pathogens, allergens and pesticides.

Since the company's June 17 voluntary recall, more customers have come forward describing debilitating abdominal pain and hospitalizations for acute liver injuries after eating the product. Some have had their gallbladders removed.

"The pain kept returning and that's when she started to get concerned," said Andy Laskin, a Daily Harvest customer's attorney who has filed a lawsuit against Daily Harvest.

Laskin is representing a Daily Harvest customer who he says went to the ER for treatment in late June after the company had already issued its recall.

VIDEO: Daily Harvest customer tried to warn CEO symptoms much worse than 'gastrointestinal discomfort'

"The staff brought up by any chance have you been eating any Daily Harvest products," Laskin recounted.

Laskin says his client had been eating the Lentil + Leek crumbles prior to June 17.

"My client was naturally extremely concerned as to why Daily Harvest never called her to warn her or other consumers," said Laskin.

On June 17, Daily Harvest emailed customers including Laskin's client, who asked that we not share her name, an email with the subject line, "Please read: Important information about your French Lentil + Leek Crumbles."

The email stated in part, "A small number of customers have reported gastrointestinal discomfort" and "lentils must be thoroughly cooked" as well as "out of an abundance of caution, please dispose of any French Lentil + Leek Crumbles" and "do not eat them."

Laskin's client says she missed the email and from her hospital room on June 29 recorded this conversation with Daily Harvest:

Daily Harvest Customer: "When I went back through my emails I did see it, but it was like very... it was one of the emails that you would just delete."

Laskin says a Daily Harvest Care Manager called his client after her daughter contacted the company requesting a call.

Daily Harvest Customer: "They're talking about transferring me to Manhattan for a liver transplant. This is not fooling around stuff."

Daily Harvest Customer: "I'm just concerned also about other people, that you would pick up the phone and call anybody that was delivered this and that you would send like a red email or you know something a little more aggressive ."

Daily Harvest Employee: "What's unfortunate is that you know we had 16,000 people that had consumed these so to get the information out as quickly as possible we sent an email."

The Daily Harvest employee said they were now calling back people who had requested a call.

VIDEO: Daily Harvest responds to customers sickened, hospitalized from 1 of its products

Daily Harvest Customer: "It's really not fair."

Daily Harvest Employee: "Unfortunately with that many people who consumed it we just don't have the manpower to contact 16,000 people that quickly. I know that's you know an awful excuse but..."

That's where Laskin's client interrupted the Daily Harvest employee suggesting Daily Harvest could have set up a robocall.

"When a health food product is making people sick and the manufacturer of that product is a billion dollar company you find the manpower," said Laskin.

"You hire somebody to do a robocall you do whatever you can, you pick up the phone and you call ABC News and you say I think we have a health problem here that we need to get the word out about," he continued.

"That should have been done by a company if the company truly valued it's customers over its profits," said Laskin.

In an emailed statement, Daily Harvest tells ABC7 News as soon as the company identified a possible link between the French Lentil + Leek Crumbles and an adverse reaction, it launched a voluntary recall. The company says it sent multiple emails and/or texts to customers who purchased the product online from Daily Harvest or who attended a pop-up event. Also that it put notices on social media and its website followed by press releases by Daily Harvest and the FDA.

In Tuesday's update, the company's CEO says "We're not done testing yet" and that they remain confident the issue does not impact any of Daily Harvest's other 140+ items.

If you've been impacted by the Daily Harvest recall and would like to get in touch with ABC7 News reporter Melanie Woodrow, you can send her an email at melanie.woodrow@abc.com or contact her via Twitter or Facebook.

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