Effects of lettuce recalls on restaurants

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Brian Lutz
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Effects of lettuce recalls on restaurants

Post by Brian Lutz » December 4th, 2019, 3:13 pm

Once again, there's been a recall of Romaine lettuce in the news as lettuce grown in the Salinas California region was implicated in an E. coli outbreak. Although this one has mostly passed now, it has been interesting to note what effects this latest round of recalls has had on restaurants. One Wendy's location I went to during the outbreak removed all lettuce (regardless of type) from the menu, meaning they were not selling any salads and not using lettuce as a topping. This seemed like a gross overreaction, and I have no idea if it was the individual location or Wendy's as a whole who made the decision to not serve any lettuce.

That aside, some restaurants seem to use large quantities of Romaine lettuce on their menu. In this case the effects weren't quite as bad as the source was identified quickly and sources were available, but last year there was one particular E. coli outbreak that took several weeks to trace the source of, leading to all Romaine lettuce being recalled. If this starts to become a more common occurrence it may be time for some of them to start reconsidering whether or not they want to be serving Romaine lettuce in the first place.

Alpha8472
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Re: Effects of lettuce recalls on restaurants

Post by Alpha8472 » December 4th, 2019, 5:55 pm

Other restaurant chains are selling burgers with lettuce and salads. Jack In The Box in California is business as normal. Their food safety program is one of the best, and they have lettuce available.

Wendy's seems like they are worried that their food preparation areas are cross contaminated. They probably had to get rid of all produce except for produce that gets dipped in hot water. Don't some restaurants have to dip the tomatoes in boiling water before using them in food?

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Re: Effects of lettuce recalls on restaurants

Post by SamSpade » December 4th, 2019, 6:14 pm

I had this same terrible experience at Wendy's. No lettuce at all! But seems to be back now.

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Re: Effects of lettuce recalls on restaurants

Post by klkla » December 4th, 2019, 6:32 pm

Alpha8472 wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:55 pm
Don't some restaurants have to dip the tomatoes in boiling water before using them in food?
That sounds like a common cooking technique called 'blanching' in which the tomatoes are immersed in boiling water quickly and then into an ice bath. It makes them easier to peel.

I'm not aware of this being done for food safety reasons, though.

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Re: Effects of lettuce recalls on restaurants

Post by Alpha8472 » December 4th, 2019, 7:25 pm

Chipotle said that their new policy of dipping avocados, citrus fruits, and onions in boiling water makes their food safe now.

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Re: Effects of lettuce recalls on restaurants

Post by storewanderer » December 4th, 2019, 9:46 pm

After all these recalls I have really cut down the amount of romaine lettuce I consume.

One of the Save Mart remodels here just installed a salad bar and I was thinking about buying, then remembered the romaine recall, and opted not to buy. Not sure how that salad bar is going to do in a pretty low traffic store in Carson City, NV but I guess we will see. At least they are trying.

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Re: Effects of lettuce recalls on restaurants

Post by Brian Lutz » December 6th, 2019, 2:07 pm

https://komonews.com/news/local/more-vi ... estaurants

Evergreens, a local salad chain based in the Seattle area, appears to have fallen victim to an E. coli outbreak of their own unrelated to the Salinas outbreak, with 13 people so far known to have become ill. All of the affected restaurants have good food safety ratings, so it is likely that they received tainted produce from a supplier.

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