October 19, 2021

UC Davis Report Reveals Economic Impact of November 2018 Romaine Outbreak

The agricultural sector lost more than $280 million as a result of the Nov. 2018 E. coli incident in romaine lettuce, according to a report published by the University of California at Davis.

According to the study, processors and shippers lost an estimated $20.6 million as a result of having to pull harvested product from the supply chain and another $37.3 million as a result of product that could not be harvested or sold.

Grocery retailers suffered an estimated loss of $25.7 million due to price changes and having to pull product; food service operators lost $1.2 million. Losses incurred by suppliers of inputs, such as labor and materials, make up the rest of the amount, which could range as high as $350 million in total because of the elasticity of this pricing, the report said.

The full study, by UC Davis professors Rachael Goodhue, Kristin Kiesel, Richard Sexton and postdoc scholar Ashley Spalding, is available here.

The report comes on the heels of Western Growers’ partnership with scientific modeling and data analytics service Creme Global to create a comprehensive food safety data-sharing tool. This tool will allow participating growers to autonomously and anonymously improve and enhance food safety management and proactively develop new strategies for outbreak prevention. For more information, please contact Western Growers SVP, Science De Ann Davis at ddavis@wga.com