A hot lettuce market caused by decreased supplies blurred any impact that might have occurred following the late April report on NBC’s television program "Dateline" linking several cases of E. coli-related sickness with bagged lettuce, reports The Produce News.
There had been little to no decline in sales after the “Dateline” broadcast, and few calls came in to grower-shipper representatives – showing little concern from consumers.
The broadcast also coincided with a shortage situation, which saw the lettuce market rise to as high as $30 during the first few weeks of May.
Growers in the Salinas valley saw more flooding this year, which caused a planting gap, which would then cause a harvesting gap. They are making up for the loss in productivity with imported lettuces from Mexico, where lettuce production has increased tremendously in recent years.