(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) – Advising the restaurants on their customers? Romaine quiet.
The government is still investigating how romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, was apparently contaminated with E. coli bacteria. At least 84 people have been diagnosed in 19 states this week, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But in many restaurants across the country, Romaine is still on the menu. Both family businesses and big chains say they have aligned with suppliers and are confident that their romaine comes from places that are not affected by E. coli. If you're not sure, replace Romaine with iceberg and other salads.
"We asked a lot of people where we got our salad," said Armando Ayala, manager of Cavatore Italian Restaurant in Houston. Cavatore offers three dinner salads ̵
As it turns out, a lot of Romaine comes from California, which grows 74 percent of the national salad, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Even Salad and Go, a chain of 12 restaurants in Arizona, gets their salad from California.
Just Salad, which has 28 locations in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Chicago, says that this week saw a business surge a social media flash to reassure customers that his novel from Salinas, California is coming. Supply chain manager Janani Lee said Just Salad already had five other types of lettuce but recently iceberg for people who were still worried.
Katie Calabrese and her friend, Amanda Larsen, both threw Romaine at home, but it did not stop their salad addiction. On Thursday, they were waiting in a restaurant in Sweetgreen, Philadelphia.
"I definitely do non-Romain decisions," Calabrese said.
"I eat kale," Larsen said.
The CDC announced for the first time on April 10 a multistage outbreak of E. coli. Late last week, she advised customers, grocers and restaurants, not to eat whole heads of romaine or salad mixes that may contain Romans unless they knew they were not. Cultivated in Yuma.
The government is still investigating this outbreak. But generally, E. coli is spread by human or animal fecal matter, contaminated water or improper handling.
Salads UP, which has two restaurants in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Madison, Wisconsin, says it did not have to get rid of much Romaine, as it gets deliveries almost daily. For the time being, Romaine has been replaced by iceberg, says Robert Mayer, co-founder of Salads UP.
"The customers do not care about the temporary solution, and in general they appreciate that we take preventative measures," he said. The burrito chain Chipotle also temporarily stopped serving Romaine last weekend, but the California-sourced Romaine was back on the menu on Monday.
McDonald's, Wendy's and Chick-fil-A say that none of the Roma in their US stores comes from Yuma. But Chick-fil-A says it makes some salads with other salads or does not offer them because of a lack of Romaine.
Frog Holler, a greengrocer who sells to restaurants in Michigan, says all of his Romaine come from California. But many customers have not ordered it because of the fear. Iceberg orders rose slightly. Others would only take Romaine with an official statement that it was safe, said Brittany Savela, an office assistant.
Then Frog Holler had to get bogged down for about a week when his own suppliers stopped shipping Romaine
I just could not get my hands on it, "she said, but now it's back to normal. 19659002] It might be difficult for the farmers to make up any gaps in Roman times at this time of the year, as the planting schedules have already been fixed.
On Thursday, the fifth generation At Judge Farm in Puyallup, Washington, they planted Workers the first Roma harvest of the season to be harvested around June 1. Tim Richter and his son Timothy grow along with other crops also romaine lettuce, red leaf and green lettuce, selling most of their salad to large grocery chains.
They hope that the E. coli question will soon be clarified and that people will realize that the problem is not related to all romaine lettuce He says they use conventional fertilizers – not manure – and irrigate with well water to ensure their harvest.
"The biggest testament is that we eat it," said Timothy Richter.