May 21, 2024

Daily Harvest French Lentil Crumbles Recalled After Consumer Illnesses

Daily Harvest French Lentil + Leek Crumbles is being recalled after consumers reported gastrointestinal “discomfort,” according to news reports. The French Lentil + Leek Crumbles meal must be “heated to 165°F” according to package instructions. That means we don’t know if it’s a problem with the lectins in the lentils, or a pathogen that is causing the illnesses.

Daily Harvest French Lentil Crumbles Recalled After Consumer Illnesses

While the report from Daily Harvest says consumers have experienced “discomfort,” other posts on social media claim that some have been hospitalized with severe pain. Some patients are concerned about long term health problems such as liver damage.

If the problem is that the lentils are not thoroughly cooked, compounds called lectins can be present in the legumes and can cause gastrointestinal distress. A study published in Foods in the National Library of Medicine in 2021 looked at this issue. Soaking and boiling these foods can reduce the levels of active lectins.

Lectins are called “anti-nutritional components,” and also include enzyme inhibitors, tannins, and phytates. Lectins are resistant to the digestive process and can remain biologically active in the intestines. They bind to the intestinal epithelium, interfere with the absorption of nutrients, and can cause extensive damage.

Symptoms of lectin poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and occasional abdominal pain, and usually occur within a few hours after someone eats insufficiently prepared beans and legumes.

The World Health Organization recommends that all dried beans be soaked for at least 12 hours and then boiled vigorously in water for at least 10 minutes. The FDA recommends soaking for 5 hours, with 30 minutes of cooking. In the study, all samples, except for elderberries, chickpeas, nigella seeds, and tomatoes, had a total inactivation of lectins after proper preparation. But clear guidelines for soaking and boiling of legumes do not exist. For instance, researchers discourage the use of slow cookers for cooking beans and legumes, because the temperature for destruction of lectins (165°F) is not reached in that appliance, but not many people know this.

We don’t know how the Daily Harvest French Lentil + Leek Crumbles are prepared before they are packaged and sold; for instance, were they soaked and fully cooked? Instructions on the package say to sauté the product to a final internal temperature of 165°F. However, it is quite difficult to test the temperature of an individual lentil.

If you purchased this product, do not eat it. You can throw it away in a secure trash can, or take it back to the store where you bought it for a full refund. If you have been ill, see your doctor.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

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