MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In grocery stores large and small, repeated recalls of leafy greens, like romaine lettuce, represents an ongoing worry.

“I guess our number one concern is to make sure people aren’t getting a product that could be tainted,” grocer Dick Schroer said.

Schroer operates Bob’s Produce in Fridley, where recalls of this nature often mean tossing a lot of good product, just to be on the safe side.

“What’s frustrating for us is that most of the product they say or allege is tainted has already gone through the system by the time they make any type of announcement,” Schroer said.

In November, romaine lettuce grown in the Salinas region of California sickened people in 23 states. This week, the Centers for Disease Control reported that a different E.coli strain was linked to Fresh Express brand Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad mix. The product has sickened at least nine people in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Department of Health’s, Kirk Smith says the salad mix is identified by the code of UPC 0 71279 30906 4, beginning with lot code Z, and a best-before date up to and including 07DEC19.

“We don’t know what the ingredient is which is contaminated. It could be the romaine, but it could also be cabbage or the kale, we don’t know,” Smith said.

Consumer demand for a safer lettuce is a big reason Medford Hydroponic grower, Revol Greens, is quadrupling its operation. The latest romaine recall has left the company unable to keep up with demand.

For now, stores like Bob’s are sourcing their romaine lettuce and salad mixes from Yuma, Arizona growers.

“We’ll have plenty of salad for Christmas, plenty of salad right now. It’s all from a new growing area,” Schroer said.

Click here and here for information about the recalled lettuce and which salad kit to avoid.

Bill Hudson

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