Nearly 100 people have been hospitalized and hundreds have fallen ill after consuming a Daily Harvest lentil product, the Food and Drug Administration said, citing complaint reports, as new lawsuits were filed against the company. popular vegan food company, including one on behalf of a nursing child.
As of Thursday, 96 hospitalizations and 277 illness events across the country had been reported to the FDA, the agency said on its website. The FDA is investigating complaints of “gastrointestinal illness and abnormal liver function” linked to Daily Harvest’s “French Lentil & Leek Crumbles” frozen product. The FDA said the last report of someone becoming ill was on July 9.
Daily Harvest launched a voluntary recall of the product last month after customers started complaining of getting sick. Some have reported elevated liver enzymes, hospitalizations as well as gallbladder removal.
The company said this week that it is committed to finding answers and performing comprehensive tests to rule out potential causes, but that “thorough scientific processes require extensive laboratory analysis.”
Two lawsuits were filed against the company and the product’s maker this week on behalf of two children, including a 4-month-old, who allegedly fell ill from the product.
The baby and his mother fell ill and were hospitalized after the mother ate the lentil product in late May and early June, according to a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court, New York County .
Beginning May 25, the infant experienced vomiting, diarrhea, crying and dark urine after her mother consumed the product and breastfed her, according to the lawsuit.
After consuming the product again in June, the baby’s mother was hospitalized with extreme abdominal pain and gastrointestinal upset from June 8 to 15, according to the lawsuit.
At the time, the infant also began exhibiting symptoms including fever, vomiting and gastrointestinal upset, the lawsuit said, adding that the mother continued to breastfeed while hospitalized on the advice of her parents. doctors, who did not know the cause of his illness.
The infant was seen by a doctor on June 24, where tests showed elevated liver enzymes and she was hospitalized on June 25 before being discharged the following day with continued testing and monitoring by experts, the lawsuit said. .
The lawsuit says the infant “has suffered serious injuries” and significant medical costs and “remains at risk of future health complications with significant harm.”
In a second lawsuit filed this week on behalf of a child, a father alleges his daughter fell ill with symptoms including abdominal pain and elevated levels of thyroid and liver enzymes. The lawsuit said a gastrointestinal and liver specialist told the girl that elevated liver enzymes could indicate a ‘life-threatening and life-threatening illness’ and that she could no longer participate in her football, the passion of the maiden, for “an inflamed liver might lacerate any play and be fatal.” The child’s liver function is being monitored, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court for the Southern District of New York.
Bill Marler, an attorney representing the families in the lawsuits, said he had more than 250 clients in relation to the Daily Harvest complaints with potential claims against the company.
Marler said the FDA had done some testing, as well as Daily Harvest. “I think everyone kind of has the same goal,” to find the contaminant that made people sick, he said.
Daily Harvest said tests so far have ruled out common foodborne pathogens, major allergens, pesticides, hepatitis A, norovirus and a range of mycotoxins, including aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are a type of toxin produced by a fungus that can grow on grains and seeds.
Daily Harvest said in an earlier statement to NBC News that it does not comment on pending or potential litigation. Daily Harvest, however, pointed out that it issued a recall as soon as it received reports of customer illnesses, was working with the FDA to investigate, and repeatedly contacted customers who purchased the lentil product.
“Everyone who has been affected deserves a response, and we are committed to addressing it,” the company said at the time.
About 28,000 units of the product were distributed to consumers in the United States between April 28 and June 17, according to the company and the FDA.