Romaine returns to area stores, restaurants

December 03, 2018 07:32 PM

LATHAM - When romaine lettuce returned Monday morning to the refrigerated warehouse at California Food Service in Menands, it was a sight for sore eyes for owner Tony Battaglia.

"We received about half as much because we're waiting for people to accept it back into the marketplace," Battaglia says, "I would say by the end of the week, we'll be back up to steam again with the romaine."

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Once wholesalers have it in stock, supermarkets aren't far behind.

At the Price Chopper in Latham, shoppers welcomed the return of romaine on Monday afternoon.

"We went grocery shopping a couple of days ago and we wanted to make a salad at home but there was no lettuce on the shelves," said Nadine Yagar of Troy. "All the alternative (lettuce products) had already been picked up."

For customers who pay attention to price, they will likely notice a slight across the board increase.

"I didn't really pay attention to be honest with you," said Anna Marie Paratore, a salad lover, who stopped in for lunch at the Price Chopper Market Bistro. "If we want it, we're going to buy and we're going to eat it." 

The thing customers might notice are the labeling changes that alert them to the date and location where the produce item was harvested, which was implemented to facilitate the ability of food examiners to pinpoint the source of any future contamination.

"I think it's better to be safe than sorry," Yagar added.

At the Latham 76 Diner, owner Tony Loupessis says he had to throw away romaine lettuce after the CDC issued an E. coli alert on November 20.

"We're muddling through," Loupessis stated. "The prices are a little bit higher as you can understand, because it's harder to get the supply. You can't raise prices for a day or two. This is a business where you roll with it and you take the good with the bad."

Part of the bad is that some wholesale lettuce prices have tripled or quadrupled in price, but the good news is that consumers aren't likely to foot that bill, since retailer grocers and restaurant owners realize there is such a thing as unappetizing prices that people just won't pay.


Dan Levy

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