The Daily Harvest Recall and Tara Flour: What You Need to Know

Jan 05, 2023 By Madison Evans

You may have heard about the Daily Harvest recall that, according to the FDA's inquiry, almost one hundred individuals were sent to the hospital. Several buyers complained about stomach problems and impaired liver function after eating their French Lentil & Leek Crumbles.

Several influential people felt compelled to speak out about their personal experiences with this and the subsequent social media firestorm. Many victims are already working with attorneys to file lawsuits against the business and the product maker.

The business has provided an update on the inquiry and the potential source of the widespread malaise more than a month after Daily Harvest withdrew the product.

What Exactly Is Tara Flour?

Tara flour is made from the seeds of the Tara Spinosa plant. This plant is known as tara, Peruvian carob, and spiny holdback. Originally from Peru and the rest of South America, this little tree has now made its way to Asia, the Middle East, and even Africa.

Tara flour, a white or beige powder, has been sold on the North American market as a plant-based source of protein for quite some time. Or gum, a substance that can alter the consistency of food by acting as a thickener, stabilizer, or gelling agent.

The solvent-extracted tannic acid from tara seed pods has been classified as "direct food ingredients validated as generally recognized as safe" by the Food and Drug Administration.

A single serving of taro seed flour has roughly 12 grams of protein, 85 milligrams of calcium, and 729 milligrams of potassium, making it a popular alternative to other flours due to its excellent nutritional value. The company Daily Harvest considered the component partly because of this while developing a meat substitute made from plants.

Systematic Food Safety Concerns

Concerns concerning food regulation for businesses using non-traditional methods have been raised despite Daily Harvest's cooperation with the FDA and state authorities in their investigation of all potential sources of contamination.

Meal delivery services such as Daily Harvest are not subject to the strict food-facility registration requirements because they are considered retail food establishments, who was quoted in a recent article by Marketplace. Instead, it is up to state and municipal governments to impose regulations.

Nutrition, food studies, and public health professor recently wrote on Food Politics that the current recall is similar to others in the past, including a massive recall of pet food in 2006 that called into question the efficacy of our food safety system.

Is It Okay To Use Tara Flour?

But this is what we know: Tara seed pod extract tannic acid is considered a "direct food substance validated as generally recognized as safe (GRAS)" by the Food and Drug Administration. The Environmental Defense Fund believes that tara flour itself may not have gone through the same "GRAS" process to guarantee its safety.

Studies have shown Tara gum used in culinary products to be safe and nontoxic; however, the safety of tara flour has received less attention, according to Licalzi. Ehsani suggests that the way this particular batch of tara flour was procured, handled, or processed may have rendered it harmful to humans. Possibly it became tainted during transit.

For example: "It might be possibly dangerous to ingest this stuff uncooked," as Schaffner puts it. "It's also plausible, in my opinion, that the flour in this case wasn't prepared from the typical food-grade kind, but rather from a closely similar species. It has been suggested that the tannin content of these legumes is rather high, which in itself might be harmful."

In Conclusion

In light of the recent hospitalizations related to the Daily Harvest recall, Licalzi advises her friends and clients to avoid using tara flour until more is known about what caused the illnesses.

The possible toxicity of tara flour to humans, the presence of toxins in the tara flour used in Daily Harvest products, and whether or not any people have allergies to tara flour remain unknown.

Check the label of any food product you buy, and if you eat out or use a meal delivery service, inquire whether any of their items include tara flour to eliminate any potential danger. Always contact your local health department or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if you have symptoms you think may be connected to eating.

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