E. coli Alert Causes Grocers to Dump Romaine Lettuce
An E. coli alert has local grocery stores and restaurants scrambling right before the busy Thanksgiving holiday. The warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has grocers and chefs dumping romaine lettuce.
“We got emails overnight to pull all of our romaine for safety sake,” said Jim Almsted, owner of Almsted’s Fresh Market. “The government has issued a recall so we took everything off the shelves immediately.”
The CDC says that at least 32 people in 11 different states have been sickened by a dangerous type of E. coli that is linked to romaine lettuce. The bacteria can’t be washed off. Researchers say it’s embedded in the cellular structure of the leaves.
“It’s not just the romaine. It’s also the salad mixes that have romaine in it and the romaine hearts,” added Almsted.
“This is a Really Big Day for Us”
The day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days of the year for the small local market in Crystal.
“This is a really big day for us,” said Almsted. “We’ve got a mountain of special orders so as the day goes on it gets busier. We will do more than double our normal business today.”
While the lettuce recall is inconvenient, the lack of lettuce isn’t a concern for the store.
“I don’t think it’s going to have a huge effect,” said Almsted. “Romaine is just a real small part of what we sell.”
If you have romaine lettuce in your refrigerator, officials say throw it out, as it could be contaminated. The CDC has yet to determine where the contaminated lettuce was grown. There is no word yet on when you will see romaine back on grocery store shelves.