Clean Genes Farm

Lettuce Inspector

There has been a lot of scare and concern in the news recently about consuming greens (mainly romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley in California). The concern is regarding the outbreak of E. coli in leafy greens. 

At a glance, E. coli is a bacterium that normally lives in the digestive tracts of humans and animals. There are many types of E.coli, and most of them are harmless. Some strains can, however, cause bloody diarrhea, and potentially lead to dehydration.

When handling food of any kind, proper safety precautions should be taken.  All fruit/ produce that you intend to consume raw should be washed thoroughly, due to possible contamination.

There are infinite ways food can be contaminated. All farm products (not just greens or lettuce, ALL food) can be contaminated from manure (that’s not properly composted), from dirty water, from wild animals, from domesticated animals, poor hygiene standards from food handlers (ie – dirty boots from one area of a farm to a different area of farm). Also, employees, customers, food delivery drivers that have handled food with contaminated hands. 

We’ve all witnessed that one customer at the grocery store that has to touch 23 tomatoes to pick out that one perfect tomato. Or that person who has dropped produce on the ground and nonchalantly places it back amongst the other fruit. Think about the foot traffic on that floor and God only knows where those hands have been and were they washed after using the restroom or touching a doorknob?!

We could really go on about these scenarios, but you can get creative in your mind about how it spreads.

The good news is, you know this farmer! All our organic compost is plant-based and goes through rigorous 3rd party audits before its even available for farmers to purchase (thank you The Good Compost Company for easing our minds and guts). Our microgreens are bottom-watered, thus only the roots get the water, not the greens. Our water is tested and on top of that, we use UV filtration…which kills all bacteria. We’re very serious about food safety, and this was one of the first things we made certain of when we decided to farm. Anything getting watered here has this filtration. We use Sanidate 5.0 (organic certified ingredients that ensure no harmful residues will be left behind) to sanitize all harvest tools, food surfaces, and anywhere that food comes in contact. 

All this said we think it’s important to wash all raw produce before consuming it. Especially produce from the grocery store – because we don’t know who all has touched it.  Here is a super easy produce cleaning recipe you can whip up at home quickly.

Super Simple Recipe

– 1 cup distilled white vinegar
– 4 cups purified water (can use distilled water)
– 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

*add these ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray directly on produce and let sit 30 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse under clean cold water and dry.