As tempting as it may be, if you find yourself about to spoon a pile of Daily Harvest French Lentil and Leek Crumbles into your mouth–do not!!!
The dish (bowl? cup? slop?) is being recalled by the plant-based meal delivery service after multiple customers have reported intense gastrointestinal issues from consuming it. Nausea, vomiting, liver damage, and dark urine are just some of the effects consumers have complained about—and few people landed in the ER.
Daily Harvest finally released a statement on their instagram that they’re reaching out to customers who’ve bought the French Lentil and Leek Crumbles and “working closely with the FDA and with multiple independent labs to investigate this.” But sick, scared customers were understandably frustrated that it basically took a grassroots campaign for the company to address the issue.
Obviously, people getting sick is no good, and hopefully the company and the FDA can get to the bottom of what’s causing these intense gastrointestinal issues.
If I may be so bold to be a carpetbagger—an opportunist in this moment in which we are all hating on Daily Harvest—I have some pre-existing bones to pick with this company. Daily Harvest is strictly vegan, and the food they serve—Crumbles, Scoops, Mylks—are so distantly removed from actual foods they pretend to be that they’re more appropriately referred to as “nourishment.”
I feel as if I’ve been subjected to 100 years of Daily Harvest’s subway ads in New York City—the sight of them now launches me into an interminable and antiseptic future. Daily Harvest ads cause me to dissociate more than anything else sold to me while commuting to work. I’ve never looked at any of their offerings and not felt like I’m in the year 2350 and being tube fed by a group of scientists trying to keep the last blogger alive.
Daily Harvest promises no additives, preservatives, fillers, and pesticides in their organic food, which they convey by presenting all of their products in a sort of vacuum sealed diorama.
It’s a true horseshoe paradox–by promising pure, unadulterated food and an extraction of all “bad” additives, their food becomes so hygienic and sterile, it appears fully void of any sort of organic matter.
And forget any of the joys that are supposed to come along with eating, like company, culinary tradition, culture, indulgence—Daily Harvest has rid their foods of that, too. You receive different textures of nutrients, and then you can go back to pushing buttons on your computer until you go home and pedal on your wifi bike and then go to sleep while your smartwatch determines if you’re dreaming or not.
“Semantic satiation” is the phenomenon by which you repeat a word over and over so many times it loses its meaning. Daily Harvest has created the culinary version of that. I look at the images of their smoothies: lettuce, strawberries, almond, carrot, avocado, nutrition, calories, vitamins, health. Stuffed into a cup. I recognize that these things are food. This is food. Health food. Health food is in cup. Cup food. It is food. Is it food? What is food? Food?
I feel deeply for everyone whose bowels were affected by these supposedly healthy, organic, untainted foods. It is my wish that this hiccup (and in some cases, full regurgitation) for Daily Harvest might cause some consumers to question the benefits of distilling mealtime into a routine void of connection, emotion and care. And it is also my wish that someone explain to me how leeks exactly “crumble.”