iceberg lettuce
Dreamstime

Iceberg Lettuce Sales Are Thriving, Thanks to Romaine E. Coli Outbreak

Iceberg lettuce is totally having a moment
iceberg lettuce
Dreamstime

Iceberg lettuce prices have shot skyward since the CDC announced that romaine was not safe to eat.

After a recent E. coli outbreak, our nation said "thank u, next" to romaine lettuce and "thank u, yes" to its leafy relative — iceberg. Because no one was eating romaine lettuce due to fear of contamination, other lettuces such as iceberg became the new go-to for many restaurants and grocery stores. The whole romaine debacle has sent wholesale iceberg prices skyrocketing.

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Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that romaine lettuce was not safe to eat just days before Thanksgiving, iceberg lettuce prices positively soared in the U.S. According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture, in just one week the average price of a 24-count carton of iceberg lettuce from a supplier climbed between 119 and 168 percent. That’s a lot of money for a bunch of uneaten side salads.

The USDA’s National F.O.B. Review showed that before the reported outbreak the lettuce was priced between $16.56 and $20.85. (F.O.B. or "free on board" is an industry term relating to a commodity's price at the point of shipping.) By the time the source of the outbreak had been traced, iceberg prices were between $44.35 and $45.65.

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Since the FDA announced that romaine lettuce grown outside California is no longer a threat, we can only expect iceberg prices to drop — unless America has suddenly developed a passion for wedge salads. We still advise that you make sure to stay safe and follow The Daily Meal’s tips for avoiding food poisoning.