Know the Source Of Your Food
Knowing WHERE your food comes from is critical in keeping you and your family safe. Whenever there is a recall on lettuce because of E.coli (or some other dangerous bacteria), identifying the source of the bacteria is the first step taken by the Government. Unfortunately, because there are so many ways field grown lettuce can be contaminated – from how it’s grown, harvested and transported – identifying the source can take weeks and even months.
When you buy Great Lakes Growers lettuces and herbs, you can feel confident knowing that EVERYTHING is grown within our state-of-the-art greenhouse in Burton, Ohio. Below you’ll find even more information on we ensure that everything we grow is SAFE!
UnderStanding How Contamination Occurs
One of the reasons bacteria contamination like E.coli continues to occur from field grown lettuce is simply because of how many ways it can be contaminated. For example:
Organic Fertilizer – Organic fertilizer usually means manure. E.coli is bacteria from fecal matter. Do we need to connect the dots for you?
Accidental Human Contamination – Large farms can often have animals as well produce. How often are the same workers in both the growing fields AND the animal fields/stalls? The bacteria can easily (and accidentally) be carried from the animal portion of the farm to the growing portion via vehicles they ride in, the trailers they tow and even the boots they wear!
Water Contamination – It doesn’t take much for water runoff from a nearby field with horses or cows to make its way into the same water that is used for irrigation of the lettuce fields. One bad storm has the potential contaminate any nearby water!
Packaging & Distribution – Even farms that provide clean, quality field grown lettuce and take great care to avoid bacteria contamination can easily have their produce contaminated when it is mixed with other lettuces at a distribution or packaging facility. Contaminated produce doesn’t mean it was contaminated from the growing source…but consumers are negatively impacted nonetheless.
Our Lettuce is Always Safe!
Because we grow our lettuce hydroponically within our state-of-the-art greenhouse, we are able to carefully control most of the factors that contribute to bacteria contamination. In fact, our facilities and employees are audited annually by an independent 3rd Party in the Food Service Industry. Click here to see our two most recent safety audit sheets: Greenhouse Safety Sheet & Harvesting Crew Safety Sheet
No Soil – We don’t grow our plants in soil and do not use manure based fertilizers. This drastically reduces the likelihood of E.coli bacteria being present on our lettuces and herbs.
Water Filtration & Monitoring – We have a water filtration and sanitation system in place that monitors and cleans our irrigation water 24/7, ensuring the water we use is clean of harmful bacteria. In addition, with no presence of livestock on our property OR near our water source, there is no risk of contamination.
Harvesting, Packaging & Shipping – We harvest, package and ship our produce on the same day, meaning there are no long transit times.
Reducing The Human Element – All of our lettuces and herbs are harvested by our employees, but we require EVERYONE to wear food safety rated gloves and hair nets. In addition, our produce is grown in special trays raised a few feet off the ground, which means there is no risk of harvested produce coming in contact with the floor or anything on it! Should any produce come in contact with the floor or any other non-approved surface it is immediately discarded.
No Cross Contamination – Because we package everything ourselves and ship directly to our customers, there is no fear of our produce being cross-contaminated with other produce as it does with traditional distribution via grocery stores.