Major shortage of romaine and iceberg lettuce
You may have noticed that it has been more difficult to obtain romaine or iceberg type lettuces for the past few weeks, and that prices have increased significantly.
• Read also: Here’s why romaine is overpriced
The problem is so great that restaurateurs have to reduce the portions served to their customers or simply no longer offer them at all, because of the sky-high prices and the fact that it is impossible to adjust the menus temporarily.
Several causes explain this shortage of lettuces. First, a smaller harvest this year due to droughts in California, but also the presence of a virus, explains Sylvain Charlebois, specialist in the agri-food industry at Dalhousie University, in an interview in Quebec morning on LCN.
« The harvest has been less good, so it’s more difficult for restaurants and retailers to get supplies in California, » he observes.
The prices of some lettuces are particularly high. Heads of romaine lettuce have been seen at $6-7 at some merchants, whereas they usually cost around $3.
In some banners, romaine lettuce seems to have literally disappeared. Members at Costco say they have a lot of trouble finding it, and have been for several weeks, noted TVA Nouvelles.
« The situation should return to normal in December, when the production of Arizona will land here, » adds Sylvain Charlebois.
- Listen to Alexandre Moranville’s news bulletin at the microphone of Benoit Dutrizac on QUB Radio:
Prohibited in Canada
This is not the first time lettuce shortages have been observed in Canada. Recalls occur regularly due to contamination with E. Coli bacteria, most of them targeting lettuces grown in the United States.
In order to reduce the risk associated with this bacterium, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has implemented a ban on the import of American romaine lettuce from certain counties struggling with recurring outbreaks of E. Coli. , under certain conditions.
This ban applies to Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito and Monterey counties in California’s Salinas Valley. Lettuce imported from these regions is, however, permitted if it is tested and does not contain detectable levels of E. Coli.
The measure is applicable between September 28 and December 22, 2022.
Climate change, disease and droughts are likely to cause many other problems in the food supply chain.
Also in the United States, experts are concerned that cattle herds will be reduced due to dwindling pasture, struggling with drought, driving up prices.