The Salinas Valley has long billed itself as the Salad Bowl of the World. Last year alone, Monterey County grew $1.4 billion worth of lettuce.
But for years the leafy green industry and Salinas Valley, which grows the majority of the nation’s lettuce, have also increasingly been known for something else: dangerous contamination in its leafy greens – particularly romaine lettuce – and an apparent inability to solve the problem.
The recurring contamination has sparked distrust in international markets, leading to a bombshell announcement in October that Canada effectively banned the importation of Salinas Valley-grown romaine lettuce until Dec. 31. The restrictions apply to romaine grown in four counties: Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Santa Clara.
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