According to officials, the romaine lettuce is off the market, but prices are down by more than half and farmers are leaving the lettuce to rot.
A deadly E.coli outbreak that was connected to romaine lettuce has caused it’s consumers to be wary on consuming or purchasing the leafy green. It is costing farmers, restaurants and retailers millions of dollars due to the lack of lot tracking.
Federal health officials say that the tainted lettuce is off the market now as they suspected it was coming out of Yuma, Arizona and their growing season is over. They haven’t been able to still pinpoint the exact source which has sickened 172 people and causing one death.
“It’s [cost] thousands and thousands of dollars; it could even run into the millions,” said Howard Popoola, Kroger Co.’s vice president of corporate food technology and regulatory compliance, referring to costs at the largest U.S. supermarket chain, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Trucks all across the country were dumping romaine,” said Drew McDonald, vice president of quality and food safety at the Salinas, Calif.-based company. “The loss of all that product was significant for us because of our size,” he said, adding that the company in April scrambled to shift production north to its central California farms to supply retailers and restaurants seeking to replenish stocks.
For a 3PL/ trucking company like we are, we are all going to do what is morally best for the end consumer and that is going to lead to a loss. This one so happens that it has dropped sales by 27% and the price for romaine decreasing by 60%.
Major salad producers in the Yuma region have abandoned hundreds of acres of romaine. Other smaller producers out in Modesto, California have said that they have lost up to $120,000 just this year, which can be devastating.