Traceability Key to Avoiding Daily Harvest-Type Recalls

Meal kit service Daily Harvest’s recall of its French Lentils + Leek Crumbles product, which allegedly sickened more than 470 people, highlights the food industry’s need for high-tech improvements in the traceability chain, an industry expert said.

“Food recalls unfortunately have become the norm, and the Daily Harvest crisis is only the latest woe,” Christine Akselsen, CEO of Norway-based technology company Kezzler Corp., told The Food Institute. “While traceability is not necessarily a preventive investment since it can’t stop contamination from occurring, it does increase the efficiency of the recall process, enhance visibility for all stakeholders, and improve the forensic trackback process.

“Although legacy traceability systems tended to be inward looking, the technology has advanced so it can easily integrate consumers into the process, which results in enhanced brand trust and public safety. Although still commonplace, we are starting to see food recalls decrease, and can point to traceability in helping mitigate the damage from such recalls,” said Akselsen.

While a lawsuit has already been brought against New York City-based Daily Harvest claiming its ground-beef substitute caused the illnesses, Marler Clark, the law firm that filed the suit, said it would be filing additional lawsuits, Restaurant Business reported.

Daily Harvest CEO Rachel Drori said the company is working hard to discover what went wrong, and the investigation has ruled out such contaminants as E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and staphylococcus.

Daily Harvest ships pre-made frozen, organic food products to certain zip codes nationwide. Introduced in April, the French Lentil and Leek Crumbles were meant to be used as a ground-meat substitute to be cooked and added to other dishes, CBS News reported.