E. coli outbreak? Lettuce grown in NJ was safe all along
Craving a nice, fresh summer salad? Fear not and look no further than the Garden State.
Last year's romaine lettuce recall due to an E. coli outbreak did not impact New Jersey. But state Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher said the FDA did not tell people for weeks where the affected romaine lettuce was coming from, so many did not buy lettuce in New Jersey, causing a financial hit to local farmers.
Fisher said none of the lettuce — absolutely none — was grown in New Jersey.
He added that the state has some of the greatest food safety regulations in the country and the farmers make sure they follow protocols under the Food Safety Modernization Act.
"We've been doing on-farm inspections for several years with farm readiness programs with Rutgers to make sure our farmers understand all the rules and regulations," said Fisher.
Fisher said the Garden State has done more food produce inspections than any other state.
"That's why I can make these claims and make sure that people understand that it's safe. Anything can happen, anywhere, anytime. But for the most part, we followed and have had no incident, for years with these kinds of recalls," he said.
Fisher has encouraged consumers to look for Jersey Fresh lettuces and other greens wherever they purchase produce, knowing they can buy products labeled as Jersey Fresh with full confidence.
Along with romaine and other lettuces, other Jersey Fresh crops available in grocery stores and farm markets include arugula, cilantro, collards, dandelion, dill, escarole, endive, kale, leeks, mint, parsley and spinach. Cabbage should be available in a few weeks.
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