Minnesota-based lettuce grower feeling impact of CDC romaine warning

- Though a vast majority of romaine lettuce is grown in California and Arizona, a Minnesota-based lettuce grower is feeling the impact of a nation-wide food safety alert.

Tuesday, the FDA and CDC issued a rare, sweeping alert not to eat romaine lettuce after an E. Coli outbreak sickened 32 people in 11 states. So far, no one in Minnesota has fallen ill.

“No common grower, supplier or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified, so, we just want people to know that they should not eat or buy any romaine lettuce while our investigation continues,” said Dr. Laura Gieraltowski with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

With Thanksgiving meals in preparation-mode, national health leaders felt pressured to issue an alert as soon as possible, even without knowing the precise source of the outbreak.

Medford-based Revol Greens is assuring consumers that their lettuce is safe to eat. However, they are removing romaine from their mixes.

“When the CDC comes out with a blanket statement like this, really lumping all romaine lettuce together, it really impacts us,” said Brendon Krieg, Sales Manager and Partner with Revol Greens.

Revol grows its greens in a controlled indoor greenhouse and takes several other safety measures to keep their produce clean, but with grocers and restaurants pulling the produce, the company is adjusting.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” Krieg said. “It will definitely have a long term effect on overall lettuce and romaine consumption, so I think from that standpoint that will hurt us. But I think long term hopefully we are able to overcome.”  

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