SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Food delivery service Daily Harvest named the ingredient in one of its products as the reason that hundreds of people were sickened and hospitalized after consuming the item. In some cases customers had their gallbladders removed.
The company says tara flour in its French Lentil + Leek Crumbles is the cause of the issue. Daily Harvest says tara flour is a plant-based source of protein. Daily Harvest issued a voluntary recall of its crumbles on June 17. Daily Harvest's CEO says tara flour was only used in the French Lentil + Leek Crumbles and that the company is no longer sourcing from this producer.
The CEO also says that the producer does not provide any ingredients for the company's 140 plus other menu items. Daily Harvest has not named the producer of its tara flour. Information that attorney Bill Marler, who is representing close to 300 Daily Harvest customers, says people want to know.
"Knowing who the supplier of Tara is does a number of things, one is it helps the FDA, it helps consumers, it helps lawyers figure out where the contamination event occurred, you know did Tara come directly from Peru to the manufacturer in Minnesota or did it come through other sources where contamination could have occurred," said Marler.
Daily Harvest's CEO says the company's investigation team will continue working with the FDA and the tara flour producer to determine what specifically made people sick.
UPDATE: In an emailed statement to ABC7 News on Wednesday, responding to a request sent to the FDA on Tuesday, an FDA Spokesperson writes:
"The FDA is committed to helping ensure that the products we regulate are safe and effective for use as we continue to have one of the safest food supplies in the world. Generally speaking, during ongoing outbreak or adverse event investigations, the FDA names ingredients or ingredient suppliers only when there is enough evidence linking that ingredient to illness or injury. Currently, the FDA is collecting data in addition to samples and conducting sample analysis on multiple ingredients. This includes extensive testing for numerous possible adulterants, including microbial and chemical contaminants. Sample analysis takes time, and there are no guarantees the information available to the agency will demonstrate a definitive link between illnesses and foods. The investigation of a particular ingredient does not mean that the ingredient, or the firm that supplied the ingredient, is definitively linked to adverse events - the results of an investigation into an ingredient may well lead to that ingredient being ruled out as a cause of illness or injury. Sharing preliminary information on the investigation may mislead consumers in believing that a specific ingredient was the cause of an illness or outbreak when in fact it was later ruled out of being linked to an adverse event.The FDA continues to work with Daily Harvest to determine the cause of illnesses and will issue updates to the advisory for this incident. FDA will also provide actionable consumer advice on potentially hazardous products as well as updates on our investigations as information becomes available."
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