Managers: Lettuce is back, but prices higher
Lettuce lovers can breathe a short sigh of relief after the salad community has been hit with a huge scare.
Romaine lettuce was nationally banned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in November due to an E. coli contamination.
The contamination caused all romaine lettuce to disappear from grocery store shelves.
Many salad mixes contained romaine and were also recalled.
Spinach was the only safe option.
At the end of November, the source of the contamination was tracked down by the CDC and sourced to California.
Now romaine has gradually appeared back onto market shelves but at a much higher price.
“Romaine ran about $2.50 per head before the ban. Since its return, prices have soared to $4.49 a head and is being projected to maybe hit $6 a head. Mixes that contain romaine have also seen an increase,” Piggy Wiggly General Manager Cyndi Lundy said.
The issue now is that all other salad prices are increasing due to the amount that is being purchased due to the contamination ban.
Iceberg lettuce has increased to almost $3 a head, compared to $1.29 before the ban.
“We are not stocking a lot of romaine as of yet due to the scare. We have seen a defiant price increase in other salad products that contain romaine and an increase in products without romaine as well,” Lundy said.
For Wal-Mart in Brewton, the prices pretty much have stayed the same since romaine has returned to shelves.
“We have it back in stock and prices have not moved. When it was recalled it hurt us in sales. We are glad to have it back to offer to customers,” said General Manager Chuck McCall.
The story was not the same for Brewton Pic-N-Save location.
“We have not even got it back in yet. Romaine is on order and customers are requesting it but there is a shortage and a back order on the item at the current time. Iceberg lettuce has shot to $3 a head,” said Store Manager Sheilla Shipp.
Even though the scare may be over, the price of lettuce will take a bit a time before it returns to the normal price.