FDA confirms investigation of Revive Superfoods after some customers sickened, hospitalized

Melanie Woodrow Image
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
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The FDA is investigating after customers say they had acute liver failure after drinking the mango and pineapple smoothie from Revive Superfoods.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The FDA is investigating complaints involving people who say they had acute liver failure after consuming products from a second food delivery service. The FDA was already investigating Daily Harvest and now says it is also investigating Revive Superfoods.

Vincent Carrotozzolo says he was hospitalized in June with elevated liver enzymes and put on watch for acute liver failure.

"50 questions every time a doctor came into the room. I saw a gastro while I was there. I saw the resident doctor while I was there. Nurses came in. We had no idea what it could be at the time," said Carrotozzolo.

Carrotozzolo says he was drinking Revive Superfoods smoothies, both the berry smoothie and the mango and pineapple smoothie.

On July 9, a month after Carrotozzolo was hospitalized, he received an email from Revive Superfoods letting him know one of the company's suppliers found microbial contamination in its raspberries. The email advised him not to consume certain Revive smoothies received prior to June 10.

RELATED: Lawsuits filed against Revive Superfoods after customers sickened, hospitalized

Only Revive's recall was June 18 according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, meaning the company waited three weeks to notify Carrotozzolo, who says he continued drinking the smoothies.

"I didn't even consider that smoothies I was taking for health reasons could be actually detrimental to my health," said Carrotozzolo.

It wasn't just the smoothies Revive recalled, Carrotozzolo was also drinking Revive's Mango and Pineapple smoothie, a variety the company has not recalled.

He says he recently heard about the Daily Harvest French Lentil + Leek crumbles recall and that Daily Harvest had named the ingredient tara flour as the cause of the issue for customers with acute liver failure.

He also learned tara protein is an ingredient in Revive Superfoods Mango and Pineapple smoothies.

VIDEO: Revive Superfoods has concerns about tara in one of its smoothies, pulls product from website

On July 19, Revive's CEO told ABC7 News the company contacted regulatory authorities and removed the mango and pineapple smoothie for sale from its website. The following week the CEO told ABC7 News the company was communicating directly with customers.

But Carrotozzolo says the company didn't notify him about any issues with the mango and pineapple smoothie.

On July 29, he wrote to the company asking why.

Monday, August 1, he received a response that said in part, "All indications suggest our Mango & Pineapple smoothie is safe to consume, however, out of an abundance of caution we've decided to stop shipping this product for now. We are working closely with regulatory authorities for additional testing and guidance."

A notification Carrotozzolo says he did not receive until he asked.

"And to not even get a notification from them, it's an insult," Carrotozzolo said.

"You lost a customer for life," he continued.

Mom Hannah P. says she received an email from Revive on July 25, six days after the company decided to stop selling its mango and pineapple smoothie. The email let her know the smoothie which was in her upcoming order would be replaced by another one. But the email did not direct her to avoid drinking the mango and pineapple smoothies she still had in her freezer from a prior delivery.

"I would have eaten it without thinking twice," said Hannah P., who asked that we not use her full last name.

"There was not from what I can see a very concerted effort to make sure that consumers knew that this product is potentially dangerous to your health," she continued.

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

A concern Carrotozzolo shares.

"There's people who are probably still consuming them out there," said Carrotozzolo.

Revive Superfoods says tests for pathogens, toxins and allergens in its mango and pineapple smoothie have come back negative.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and FDA say they're investigating.

The FDA has not made any recommendations about tara flour and says it names ingredients or ingredient suppliers only when there is enough evidence linking that ingredient to illness or injury.

Revive Superfoods CEO did not respond to recent requests by ABC7 News.

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