Local businessman soon able to sell romaine lettuce again

December 02, 2018 11:05 AM

Tony Battaglia has been in the wholesale grocery business his entire life. The California Food Service he runs in Menands has been selling produce to supermarkets, mom and pop stores, and restaurants in the area for more than a century.

When the Centers for Disease Control ordered a recall on Romaine lettuce back on November 20th, it wasn't a good day for him.
"It was problematic because it happened during Thanksgiving week, the biggest food holiday of the year" he said. 

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After dozens of people, in 11 states, became sick from eating contaminated romaine, Americans were told to toss it out, restaurants were warned not to serve it, and stores were ordered not to sell it.

Tony says he had no choice other than to throw out thousands of dollars worth of romaine, and then eat the cost.

"This has been a rather severe recall due to the nature of the holiday time it occurred and also because it was a transitional growing time. The prices on the other items, green leaf, mesclun mix and iceberg all spiked pretty severely." 

For those who enjoy Caesar Salad , even though food inspectors haven't been able to pinpoint the source of the E. coli contamination, romaine growing has shifted from California to Arizona, and the CDC has given the OK for Tony and others to return to business they've grown accustom to.

Lettuce will be sold Monday morning. 


Dan Levy

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