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Some Wichita restaurants choose to stop serving romaine amid E. coli outbreak

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KAKE) –

John Miller has owned and operated Cheney Lake Produce for the last ten years.

“We grow probably about eight or nine different kinds of lettuce. We grow some herbs, like basil,” Miller said.

Locally grown out of Hutchinson, Miller said he grows whatever the customer wants and right now that’s romaine lettuce.

"We try to keep everything clean and sterile and like we’re finding out, you cannot wash bacteria out of lettuce,” Miller said. "We try to prevent it from ever getting started in here."

Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a massive, multistate outbreak of E. coli from romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona.

Miller said his team doesn’t take any chances.

"Out here we disinfect the tops of the lids before we plant lettuce and we just try to keep everything as clean as we can,” Miller said.

While Miller prides himself on his own product, he’d like to take advantage of the sudden increased demand but said he can’t speed up mother nature.

He said it takes about six weeks for his romaine to grow to its full potential.

“Right now, the only places we’re selling this romaine is at Green Acres stores and we’re selling them at Smith markets in Hutch and Leekers,” Miller said.

Some restaurants in Wichita, like the Chick-fil-A on Central and Rock have chosen to stop serving romaine lettuce per the CDC’s recommendations, but they hope to have it back on the menu by the end of the week.

Also, Il Vicino Wood Oven Pizza posted on Facebook to say they would be eliminating their romaine for the time being.

For now, the CDC said not buy or eat romaine lettuce at grocery stores or restaurants unless you can confirm it’s not from the Yuma, Arizona.

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