Co-op Update: Romaine Lettuce Alert

Have questions about romaine lettuce? For our members and customers, this post will be updated regularly as new information becomes available.

Update November 28, 2018

The FDA is allowing for the reintroduction of romaine lettuce as long as the lettuce was harvested outside the central coast of California on or after November 23, 2018.  This includes romaine from hydroponic facilities or greenhouses.

What does this mean for consumers? 

Effective immediately, packaged products containing romaine will feature detailed information regarding growing region and approximate harvest date. For unpackaged products, the information will be displayed in signage.

Consumers should look for the labels and/or signage before purchasing any product containing romaine.

Update November 27, 2018

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that only romaine sourced from central and northern California is unsafe for consumers. Read on to learn more about the latest information provided by Co-op suppliers. 

Free Express Update
The FDA and key vendors in the romaine lettuce industry recently met and came to an agreement that will allow certain companies the ability to start up production of romaine and romaine-based products again.  As part of the agreement, these companies will need to change their packaging to state the part of the country the product was harvested from, as well as when it was harvested.

With the green light given, Fresh Express started harvesting and will have product available for delivery soon. Signs will be posted to help consumers understand that these salads are now safe to be consumed.

Please note that due to demand for these items, it may take time to get deliveries back to normal.

Olivia’s / Simple Beginnings
As part of the romaine advisory, State Garden, the company that produces Olivia’s and Simple Beginnings Salads, has decided to remove baby romaine as an ingredient from their salads. There will be a note by the sell-by date stating, “DOES NOT CONTAIN ROMAINE” to let consumers know that the salad that they are purchasing has changed the ingredients.

Signs will be posted to help inform consumers of the change and to indicate that these salads are fit for consumption.

Update November 21, 2018:

The CDC is advising consumers not to eat any romaine lettuce due to a recent E. coli outbreak. At our stores, we have pulled all potentially contaminated products with romaine lettuce off the shelf based on the CDC recommendation. The advisory was issued for all types of romaine, which includes:

  • Organic romaine
  • Conventional romaine
  • Lettuce mixes that contain romaine (both conventional and organic)
  • Chopped romaine (both conventional and organic)
  • Prepared foods with romaine

We’re working closely with our vendors to understand more about this issue. We will keep updating you as we have more information, so please check back.

If you’re looking for an alternative try these local greens from Lēf Farms. Here’s a statement from Lēf:

If you have purchased any lettuce products from the co-op that you’re concerned about, please bring them back to one of our service desks for a full refund.

Questions? Concerns?

Contact us at:

updated 11/21/2018 9:30am

The following two tabs change content below.

Amanda Charland

Amanda Charland is the General Manager of the Co-op Food Stores. She was first hired as the Co-op's Sustainability Coordinator in 2012, and joined the Co-op Leadership Team as Member Services and Outreach Director in 2014. She earned a Master's Degree in Cooperative Management in 2017, and she was promoted to Director of Cooperative Engagement in 2018. She was hired by the Co-op Board of Directors as General Manager in 2022. Contact her at

Latest posts by Amanda Charland (see all)