A multitude of people who claim they fell severely ill after eating Daily Harvest's recalled French Lentil + Leek Crumbles product are taking legal action.
Bill Marler, whose firm, Marler Clark, specializes in outbreaks of food-borne illnesses, has already retained over 130 clients who say they have fallen ill and in some cases become hospitalized and had their gallbladders removed after consuming the lentil-based product. So far, Marler has already talked with over 20 people who claim they have had their gallbladders removed.
A spokesperson for Daily Harvest declined to comment on pending or potential litigation but told FOX Business that the company voluntarily launched a product recall in response to reports.
"I can tell you that there is no way that this isn't the Daily Harvest crumbles that's causing this," Marler told FOX Business.
Every person Marler has talked to claims to have gotten sick within several hours after eating the product.
"Some people got sick, went to the hospital, came home and ate the product again and got sick again, went back to the hospital," he added.
Marler filed his first suit against Daily Harvest on June 26, accusing the company of manufacturing a "defective and unreasonably dangerous" product.
In the suit, a woman in Tulsa, Oklahoma, claimed that she was taken to the emergency room twice. Carol Ann Ready claimed that she had experienced abdominal pain, gastrointestinal distress and shoulder pain after consuming the product for the first time in May, according to legal documents.
Eventually, Ready was taken to the emergency room for testing after her "abdominal pain and gastrointestinal distress became intolerable," according to the suit. She also experienced "nausea and a headache," the suit continued.
Roughly a week later, after eating the product again, Ready was hospitalized for four days and diagnosed with liver and gallbladder dysfunction, according to the suit.
In addition to sustaining "serious personal injuries" and "substantial medical expenses," Ready also "remains at risk for future health complications," the suit claims.
"We just don't know what it is, so we don't know what the long-term impacts on people are," Marler said.
A spokesperson for Daily Harvest told FOX Business that the company can't comment on pending or potential litigation but reiterated that Daily Harvest "immediately took action and launched a voluntary recall" after discovering "a possible link between the French Lentil + Leek Crumbles and an adverse reaction."
"We have reached out multiple times directly to consumers who received the product, instructing them to dispose of it and not eat it," the spokesperson said. "In parallel, we launched an investigation to identify the root cause, working closely with the FDA, multiple independent labs, and a group of experts that includes microbiologists, toxin and pathogen experts as well as allergists."
On June 17, the company posted its first warning notice that the product was discontinued after getting reports of adverse reactions. The warning came after scores of people already posted on a Reddit thread that they had stomach pain that was so severe that they had to go to the hospital. A handful even claimed that they had their gallbladders removed. Eventually, after word spread, users started to chime in on Twitter about similar experiences.
Overall, Daily Harvest said it has already received 470 reports of illness or adverse reactions from customers who consumed the product.
Still, after several days of testing the product and a "top-to-bottom investigation of our manufacturing facilities, food and supply chain" the company hasn't found the "root cause of the issue," CEO Rachel Drori said in a statement last month.
The tests, which cover common food-borne pathogens, toxins, and allergens, have all come back negative, Drori said Monday, June 27.
"At this point, despite consulting with numerous experts, cooperating with FDA’s investigation, working with our supply chain, and conducting extensive testing, we have not yet identified a cause," she said.
It's been over 20 days since the comments on Reddit first surfaced.