Pottsville Restaurant Not Selling Romaine Lettuce Amid E. coli Outbreak

POTTSVILLE -- The Greystone in Pottsville is no longer selling romaine lettuce because of the recent E. coli outbreak.

Many Pennsylvanians are on edge because of the recall on romaine lettuce.

"I just think it's a terrible outbreak, and we really gotta be careful, you know?" Louann Brown of St. Clair said.

The Food and Drug Administration started warning consumers about an E. coli outbreak on romaine lettuce grown in Arizona a couple of weeks ago.

Jerry Labooty, the owner of the Greystone Restaurant in downtown Pottsville, has been given the OK to serve the romaine he has in his restaurant. However, he decided not to use it until the scare is over. He doesn't want his customers to get sick.

"Even though we were given the green light that the crop coming out now has not been affected, we're just going to err on the side of caution and not serve it."

Newswatch 16 stopped in at several grocery stores not affected by the romaine recall including one grocery store whose manager says it's not affected because they don't sell romaine.

"There is no demand for it," Brok-Sel Market Manager Mary Balulis said. "This is basically a convenience store so we do sell basics -- which is iceberg lettuce."

Labooty said he's had to substitute the lettuce in some of his salad dishes.

"Our offerings now, we do a grilled iceberg," Labooty said. "We do a wedge salad, which we're grilling and it's turning out very well. In place of the Caesar, we are now doing spinach."

He was originally planning to start selling romaine again at the end of the month but now plans to keep it off his menu all the way through September.

"It just shows that we're trying to be proactive and look out for our customers," Labooty said. "They are our most valuable asset. So, we don't want anybody to get sick."

The number of reported E. coli cases is now at 98 in 22 states. The Centers for Disease Control said it expects to get more reports. The agency says you are not supposed to buy or eat romaine lettuce unless you are sure it has not been contaminated.