Over the last several weeks, the Arizona/California desert growing regions have experienced freezing temperatures that have caused the development of industrywide freeze-related quality issues such as epidermal blistering and peeling in green leaf, iceberg, and romaine lettuces that are used in many RSS items. These problems and other defects have directly impacted quality, and forecast call for more freezing temperatures this weekend and throughout the week of December 28, which will compound and prolong the challenges.
Tender leaf items that are sensitive to dramatic temperature swings such as spinach, spring mix, and particularly wild arugula, have been performing well overall, but some supplies are exhibiting dehydration, frost burn, shortened shelf-life, and yellow discoloration.
The attached flyer (English only) is temporarily being placed in the cartons of several RSS items to alert customers to these industry-wide quality issues. French and Spanish versions of the flyer have also been attached for your reference, as well as photos of the current quality issues Markon inspectors have found during recent product evaluations.
The following RSS items are currently being packed with quality-alert flyers:
Green Leaf, Romaine, and Salad Blends:
- RSS 50/50 Blend 4/5#
- RSS Chopped Romaine 6/2#
- RSS Chopped Hearts of Romaine 9/2#
- RSS Chopped Romaine/Spring Mix Blend 4/2#
- RSS Hearts & Hearts 4/2#
- RSS Shredded Romaine 6/2#
- RSS W&T Romaine 2/5#
- RSS W&T Romaine Fillets 2/5#
Tender Leaf Items:
- RSS Conventional Spring Mix 2/1.5#, 3/1#, 6/1#, 4/3#
- RSS Spring Mix 2/1.5#, 3/1#, 6/1#, 4/3#
The items listed below are currently being shipped without flyers, but may develop similar issues that present the need for flyers in the coming days:
- RSS Arcadian Harvest Classic 2/3#, 4/3#
- RSS Arcadian Harvest Emerald 3/2#
- RSS Arcadian Harvest Ruby 3/2#
- RSS Baby Spinach 2/2#
- RSS Better Burger Leaf 2/5#
- RSS Heritage Blend 3/1#, 4/3#
- RSS Spinach 4/2.5#
- RSS Washed & Trimmed (W&T) Green Leaf 2/5#
- RSS W&T Green Leaf Fillets 2/5#
- RSS W&T Lettuce Jammers 1/5#
- RSS Wild Arugula 2/2#
It is important to note that growers, harvesters, processors, and Markon inspectors will all be working closely together to select and pack the best available product over the next several weeks. Given the impact of recent weather events, it will be impossible to completely remove or avoid defects that reduce quality and potentially shorten shelf-life. It is Markon’s hope that the added quality-alert flyers help to communicate these recent quality challenges to end users.
Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.
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