SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On the same day food delivery service Daily Harvest announced tara flour as the ingredient in one of its products sickening people, another company says it has removed a smoothie for sale on its website because it also contains tara.
Zandi Holup is a country singer in Nashville. Holup says Revive Superfoods emailed her to gift her products to share with her social media followers.
Holup says she welcomed the offer, but on the same day in March she shot a video drinking the company's mango and pineapple smoothie she says she became sick.
"I felt this clenching in my sternum and then it was going through like a stabbing pain straight through to my back," said Holup.
Holup says she was hospitalized four separate times with liver issues for a total of 17 nights perplexing her doctors.
"I'm having a couple of medical issues right now that's why I'm in the hospital," said Holup in a video she made from her hospital bed.
"I'm a really healthy person so it was really scary," Holup told ABC7 News I-Team reporter Melanie Woodrow.
In June, through social media, Holup says she learned about Daily Harvest customers hospitalized and sickened with similar symptoms as hers by the company's recalled French Lentil + Leek Crumbles.
"After the Daily Harvest story came out I put two and two together," said Holup.
Holup, who says she has never eaten Daily Harvest, connected with a handful of other Revive Superfoods customers online who said they had similar experiences to hers. She says she also spoke to the FDA and food attorney Bill Marler.
Marler found tara, a plant-based source of protein, was an ingredient in Daily Harvest's French Lentil + Leek Crumbles and Revive Superfoods Mango and Pineapple smoothies.
"We've known for two weeks that the likely ingredient that was causing people to get sick was tara," Marler told Woodrow in an interview Tuesday.
Tuesday, Daily Harvest announced, that "tara flour" is the cause of the issue and its been investigating in connection with its customers who were sickened.
Daily Harvest's CEO says they are still working with the FDA and the tara flour producer to determine what specifically made people sick. Daily Harvest has not publicly named its tara producer, only that the company is no longer sourcing from this producer and that the tara flour was only used in its French Lentil + Leek Crumbles.
Meantime Revive Superfoods CEO tells ABC7 News since it became aware of this ingredient as a potential hazard, it contacted regulatory authorities and removed the mango and pineapple smoothie from further sale on its website. The company's CEO says the company ran extensive testing for all major pathogens, toxins and allergens and all results have come back negative.
Writing in an emailed statement in part, "Our ingredients, processes and suppliers may differ from Daily Harvest but we are taking no chances. We have reached out to Daily Harvest and the FDA for further clarity on what specifically is causing tara protein to be an issue even though results are negative."
The statement falls short for Holup.
"I don't even think they really warned their customers about the products that are in people's freezers right now," said Holup.
Revive Superfoods CEO says the company is utilizing all resources to get to the bottom of this.
Revive Superfoods' complete statement here:
Hi everyone! Yousuf Soliman here. CEO and Co-founder of Revive Superfoods. We recently became aware of a public note from Daily Harvest indicating the tara flour ingredient as the cause of the issue behind their recall. Since we became aware of this ingredient as a potential hazard, we immediately contacted regulatory authorities and removed it from further sale on our website. We also immediately ran extensive testing for all major pathogens/toxins/allergens and all results have come back negative.Our ingredients, processes and suppliers may differ from Daily Harvest but we are taking no chances. We have reached out to Daily Harvest and the FDA for further clarity on what specifically is causing tara protein to be an issue even though results are negative.Our number one priority is always the safety and health of our customers and I can assure you we are utilizing all resources to get to the bottom of this. My commitment to you will never waver in ensuring our quality products continue to be a source of good food and living a better lifestyle.Sincerely,Yousuf Soliman
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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