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California lettuce hit with quality problems

produce alliance lettuce damage

Produce Alliance, LLC BB #:159218, Chicago, released the following market alert:

Iceberg, romaine and romaine hearts have been impacted by the **INSV Virus and **Fusarium along with other viruses that have taken over the fields this past month throughout the Salinas Valley.

These viruses are not allowing product to fully develop and in many cases, causing growers to disc entire fields. Our growers are working to put only the best product available in the boxes, and bring the best quality into the plant for processing as crews have been working diligently in the fields to leave any affected product behind.

For the lettuce fields designated for processing, that are currently unaffected by the disease, there is some variation in core sizing/growth, where some cores are curved in the head of lettuce making it a bit difficult for crews to see as they remove what they can in the field. This means, harvesting at an extremely slow pace to minimize the risk as much as possible.
Growers are having to place additional inspection on the lines to cull out any defects not removed in the field.

Currently, the market is in a demand exceeds supply situation due to lighter supply industry wide and we are anticipating a very unstable market situation to continue for the remainder of the Salinas season.

Some weeks will be better than others, but as we see the local deals finish for the season, this will put more pressure on California, increasing demand on already shorter crops.

Green leaf is starting to feel the effects of this situation as well as available supply is getting shorter. Red leaf and butter lettuce may be affected as we work through the balance of the season, but currently, quality issues are not as severe.

**Notes: INSV Virus is a plant virus that is passed from field to field by insects. Fusarium is a soil borne fungus, which causes the lettuce heads to die from diseased roots.