Romaine update 12/4/18

The FDA has issued a voluntary labeling recommendation for all growers and shippers of romaine and romaine products that these boxes be labeled with a harvest date and region. The FDA is advising consumers not to eat or purchase romaine or romaine-containing products unless information is provided regarding the harvest region and date of harvest, or unless it is stated that the romaine is hydroponically or greenhouse-grown.

Leaf Romaine arriving at CPW on Tuesday, 12/4, is Cal Organic label and has labels indicating harvest date and region. We expect that all large shippers of romaine and romaine mixes (such as Cal-O and Taylor Farms) will comply with this voluntary labeling, while some smaller growers may not have the capacity to have stickers made quickly. CPW will source for the time being only from growers able to label their romaine products.

Both Taylor Farms and Salad Farm will be labeling their boxes of bulk Spring Mix. Taylor will have new labels on their individual clamshell mixes with pack date and region, as well as sell dates on all items containing romaine, including romaine hearts.

Retailers and food service can voluntarily post these labels or mention them in signage if desired.

Romaine update 11/29/18 11:30 a.m.

The CDC approved harvesting and marketing Romaine Lettuce (and products containing romaine) in areas deemed unlikely to have been the cause of the e-coli issue.  They did request that packers voluntarily label their product with harvest locations and pack dates. 

The California and Arizona desert growing regions are among the areas approved for packing.  Romaine Lettuce 24ct and baby romaine for all salad mixes (including bulk and packaged Spring Mix) that meet those qualifications are now being harvested, and we expect to have supplies of these in on either Monday December 3rd  or Tuesday December 4th (depending on trucking issues).  We expect initial shortages of 24ct Romaine as the early harvests are unlikely to meet demand.   

Co-op Partners will have Bulk Spring Mix back in stock on 12/3/18.

The week of 12/3 – 12/7/18 we will have a organic Romaine back in stock from Cal-O.

By the week of 12/10/18, desert production should be much stronger with improved availability as several more shippers expect to be harvesting there.

11/21/18 11:30 a.m.

Co-op Partners is temporarily suspending shipment of romaine products, pending investigation by the CDC and FDA about an e-coli outbreak possibly linked to romaine.

Romaine and mixes from St. Paul aquaponic greens supplier, Urban Organics, are still available from CPW. See letter from Urban Organics, here.

There is no recall on product, it is strictly an advisory warning and a voluntary precaution. The FDA has not been able to identify a growing region, brand, supplier or a specific item (salad mix, leaf romaine, hearts) that would help them zero in on the source or even positively ID romaine as the origin of the problem.

“Currently, the FDA does not have enough traceback information to identify the source of the contamination that would allow us to request a targeted recall from specific suppliers.” (from USFDA press release 11/20/18)

The cases of e-coli were reported between Oct 8th and Oct 31st. None of the romaine products that CPW has in stock were harvested before or during that time period.  However, out of an overabundance of caution, Co-op Partners is complying with the FDA’s recommendation to cease selling romaine products until more information is available.