Consumer who fell ill after eating Daily Harvest tells her storyJune 23, 2022
Sarah Schacht is part of a select group of people with the distinction of falling ill with E. coli in two separate outbreaks. First a victim in Seattle’s Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak of 1993 at the age of 13, Schacht was sickened again 20 years later after dining at a Seattle Ethiopian restaurant tied to an E. coli outbreak in February of 2013.
And now nearly another decade later, Schacht may be part of yet another food illnesses outbreak.
“The funny thing is, the average for Americans is that they’re in a foodborne illness outbreak every 10 years. So, the good news is that I had one decade off,” Schacht told Food Safety News.
Harvest, a food delivery service, released a statement on June 19 recalling their “French Lentil + Leek Crumbles” after receiving customer reports of the products causing gastrointestinal issues. There has been a growing number of consumers reporting illness after eating the product over the last few weeks.
“The irony of being caught up in all of this with Daily Harvest is not lost on me. I want to be careful to say that, I’m still waiting for my lab tests. I’m still waiting on the testing of the Daily Harvest product. But I suspect, based on what I’ve heard from others, that I may be in this outbreak,” Schacht said. “Nobody with this outbreak knows anything for sure right now. And the company has not been helpful for that.”
The Seattle Native has been using Daily Harvest food service for several months. She started feeling ill sometime in May, experiencing two seperate nights a week or two apart of severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Her stomach felt swollen and inflamed. “I still would continue life as best as possible. And then I would have, like, these random gastro events. They were really painful. There was one night where I was traveling for work and realized I might have to go into the ER, the pain was so severe. It was scary to be woken up by that much pain.”
Over the holiday weekend, Schucht received an email from Daily Harvest saying that they were recalling the “French Lentil + Leek Crumbles.”
“I immediately emailed them, and I said, have you guys identified what the pathogen is or what the cause of the illness is? And I got an auto response. It was the same exact email that had been sent to me before.”
Schucht tossed out the bags. “I opened up my compost and tossed the bags into the garbage.” But on Friday night, before receiving the email, she drank a smoothie from Daily Harvest. “I was like, I haven’t had enough protein for the day. I’ll have, like, a protein smoothie for dessert. So I grabbed one of their prepackaged smoothies and added protein powder and blended it and was violently ill the next day.”
“And I suspect, and I can’t know for sure, it’s my gut feeling, not to make a pun of it, that based on seeing all these other complaints online, this may not be…