What Daily Harvest's Scandal Can Teach You About Quality Testing
by Deborah Duffey, Chief Product Development Officer and President September 9, 2022
The importance of high-quality testing is never more apparent than when that testing fails. In case you missed it, food delivery subscription company Daily Harvest had a troubling food poisoning incident in June that not only made hundreds of its customers sick but also sent several to the hospital, allegedly even ending in gallbladder removal for some. Signs point to a lentil dish, and while the case is ongoing, the company is already facing legal action due to the dangerous health issues their customers faced.
There were numerous other errors that Daily Harvest made during the scandal, most notably the lack of transparency with their customers in the immediate wake of the incident. While clear communication is necessary in a situation like this, there’s something that’s even more important: quality testing products to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place.
Why Testing Skincare Products is so Important
While a contaminated beauty product probably won’t send you to the hospital, it can still expose skin and eyes to irritation and infection. Products can be contaminated directly from the manufacturer, but most often it happens over time once they are already on your shelves. Not all skincare products are designed to withstand a long shelf life, nor the repeated exposure to temperature changes, light, and bacteria from your hands. Together, these create the perfect environment for skin-damaging microbes to grow in your moisturizer. While the redness, burning sensation, and itching they can cause might be temporary and subside after stopping product use, the damage and scars it leaves behind can be permanent.
This is why testing products is so important. But not just any testing. While many brands do test their products for safety, they might do so in the cheapest, quickest manner possible. This usually means testing a product once, by sending a product out to a lab to make sure it doesn’t have any contamination at the time of testing. But formulating skincare products correctly and testing them thoroughly to make sure they withstand repeated exposure to pathogens is key to protecting you as the consumer.
Because we believe that high-quality, efficient, and safe products are your basic skincare right, we take testing a step further by doing a preservative efficacy test, or PET. A quick overview: the skincare products you see on the shelves of stores aren’t held to the same rigorous FDA standards as those that are prescribed by your dermatologist. They may be quality tested and pass low-level tests, but the testing isn’t intensive enough to be sure that the preservatives in the formula will continue working through months and months of use. This means that our products aren’t just tested once, but they are tested multiple times to make sure they withstand purposeful contamination over and over again. This means they will be safe to use no matter how often you scoop out the formula with your fingers.
If we discover that a product we’ve created doesn’t pass the high standards exacted by the PET process, that product will never land in the hands of the consumer. Instead, we reformulate and continue to test the product until it passes and is deemed safe to use. (This is also why our products have a long, two-year-plus shelf life.)
Unfortunately, it can take a crisis like the customers of Daily Harvest are going through in order to highlight the importance of testing products. But instead of letting catastrophe strike, we start by ensuring our products will always be safe. After all, choosing skincare products from brands that implement intensive testing is vital to the health of your skin.