Sarasota farmer says locally grown romaine lettuce is safe to eat, despite nationwide warning from CDC

Sarasota farmer says locally grown romaine lettuce is safe, despite nationwide warning from CDC

SARASOTA (WWSB) - Sarasota farmer Andrew Hudson is eating romaine lettuce today, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned US residents to stay away from it because it may be contaminated.

Hudson, who helps run the farm that provides fruits and vegetables for Jessica’s Organic Farmstand says their lettuce is organically grown and always sold fresh the same day it comes out of the ground.

“There’s nothing that goes on it that could make it sick for people," said Hudson. "The only thing it ever gets is rain and sprinkler water.”

The CDC says romaine lettuce is unsafe to eat in any form and should be thrown away. They say at least 32 people in 11 states have become sick after eating romaine contaminated with a dangerous type of E. coli. Hudson tells us these types of problems happen when large companies distribute perishable items.

“You can’t ship something, eleven days across the country and have it still be good, if it’s perishable,” said Hudson.

Phil Pagano oversees the popular Sarasota Farmers Market, which has been going on weekly for 40 years in the downtown area. He says since the produce at the market is locally grown, he’s okay with his vendors selling romaine lettuce at this weekend’s event.

“When you’re growing it 10 or 20 miles away or something local, it has no problems,” said Pagano.

The origin of this outbreak from romaine lettuce is unknown and remains under investigation.

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