Explosion of greenhouse lettuce demand

"It happens often," says President and CEO Sylvain Terrault. When there are gaps in the market, we become the flavor of the day. The one who also chairs the Quebec Garden Growers' Association (APMQ) estimates that he could have doubled his turnover in recent weeks if he had been able to meet the demands of his grocers, wholesalers and restaurants serving the Quebec market. 

The grower s unfortunately forced to disappoint them. "We are planning to sell 100% of what we produce," says Terrault. Coveted lettuce is already promised to others.

This occasional absence of romaine lettuce leaves a big gap to fill on the shelves, he admits. "We must not forget that romaine represents roughly 40% of North American lettuce sales," says the president and CEO.

California targeted

On November 27, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a directive not to distribute, import, sell, serve or use the harvested romaine lettuce in certain areas of California. The areas of Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Ventura are under close surveillance by the US Food and Drug Administration. A preliminary traceability inquiry reveals that the victims were exposed to lettuce harvested in these areas. This does not surprise the president of the APMQ. "There, there is cattle farming that is often done near lettuce fields," he says.

E. coli bacteria live naturally in the intestines of animals such as cattle and poultry. The Canadian Public Health Notice states that "contact with infected animal feces [is] a common source of E. coli infections".

SOURCE: La Terre de chez nous 

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