retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is telling consumers to avoid all romaine lettuce from southwest Arizona after an E. coli outbreak linked to the vegetable “spread to at least 16 states and sickened at least 60 people, including eight inmates at an Alaska prison,” according to a story in the Washington Post.

The CDC, the Post reports, said “that new information about the illnesses in Alaska led them to expand a warning beyond chopped romaine to include any type of romaine lettuce, including whole heads and hearts of romaine.

“Although the exact source hasn't been identified, federal health officials have said information indicates that the contaminated lettuce was grown in the Yuma, Ariz., area. But consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought romaine at home, including in salads and salad mixes, should throw it away immediately if they don't know its specific source, officials said — even if some had already been eaten with no ill effects … No common grower, supplier, distributor or brand has yet been identified, and product labels often do not identify growing regions, officials noted.”
KC's View:
It seems to me that if supermarkets are selling romaine, they’d better be absolutely sure of its provenance … and better go above and beyond to explain its sourcing to consumers. Total transparency is called for here, as well as extra caution.

If you have any doubts, or worry about your ability to effectively communicate with your shoppers, just get rid of your romaine until the outbreak is cleared up. Better safe than sorry.