Contaminated salad scares hit local producers hard

A local lettuce producer says it’s been a challenging few weeks as fears over contaminated food rise.

Slegers Living Organic Greens is among numerous Canadian distributors looking to rebuild public confidence in romaine lettuce, ever since the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued an advisory about Romaine Lettuce.

There have been 24 confirmed cases of E. coli-related illnesses in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and British Columbia.

Since the initial advisory, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has announced the outbreak was restricted to imported romaine lettuce that was harvested in parts of California.

However, that hasn’t stopped the damage to local growers.

Slegers, who produces the product year-round in greenhouses, has had to throw away large quantities of romaine lettuce over the past weeks.

However, that has now stopped, and with clear knowledge the Canadian product is safe, growing has resumed.

Pauline Slegers tells CTV News, “I think it’s going to be really hard for people to feel comfortable again. I understand they are going to feel that way. Again, ours is safe”.

The Slegers says while some suppliers did stop using their romaine, almost all have now resumed.

In addition, some retailers and restaurants that turned to them during the height of the crisis, are still sourcing the product from them.