Late last week Consumer Reports issued a warning to not eat romaine lettuce.

“Over the past seven weeks, 59 people in the U.S. and Canada have become ill from a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria, likely from eating romaine lettuce. In the U.S., the infections have occurred in 13 states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington state). Five people in the U.S. have been hospitalized and one has died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There has also been one death in Canada.”

The Centers for Disease Control confirmed that the strain of E. coli detected in the U.S. is “a virtual genetic match” with the one that has caused illnesses in Canada.

You have no doubt heard this news already from your usual news sources, but I just want to add my two cents.

A reader sent me a comment from an organic farmer. He said

They say “all romaine” and can’t figure out why that is. Well, they answer it in the third paragraph:

“Until the cause of the current outbreak is known and the implicated food is removed from the supply chain, CR’s experts say consumers should avoid eating any romaine lettuce.”

The problem is the supply chain, the global food system that mixes produce from dozens or hundreds of farms together, including lots of lettuce grown overseas. All it takes is one farm doing things wrong and all romaine lettuce becomes deadly.

Please buy locally grown romaine at the farmers market and eat it with gusto.

I wanted to comment on this because I usually don’t buy romaine lettuce from the supply chain. My number one source of lettuce is my local organic farmer’s market. All their lettuce comes from their own farm. It’s not contaminated.

If lettuce is out of season (as it is now) I eat other greens or buy organic lettuce at a local produce market that does get their produce from the organic supply chain.

I hardly ever buy romaine anyway. I prefer a mix of red and green leaf lettuces.

But Larry’s family (who we live with) always buys romaine lettuce in a plastic bag at the supermarket. I’m happy to report that this warning resulted in the purchase of red leaf lettuce. No plastic bag.

If you eat romaine lettuce, please take this warning as an opportunity to explore local organic sources and other delicious lettuces.

FOOD SAFETY NEWS: Consumer Reports warns against eating any romaine lettuce

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