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CT farm using different growing technique for safer romaine lettuce

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The first thing you notice when you walk into the large greenhouse at the H2O Farm in Guilford is the sea of romaine and other types of lettuce.

The manager here, Chaim Tovias, says his phone has been ringing off the hook ever since the E.coli outbreak started because of tainted romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region.

As of this report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 149 people in 29 states (including Connecticut) have gotten sick because of ecoli-tainted lettuce.

The H2O Farm grows and produces lettuce for several supermarket chains here in Connecticut and New England. Tovias and his crews have been assuring callers that their romaine is safe. In fact, they boast about a different growing process they employ that they say makes their lettuce safer than the lettuce that is grown outside in soil that animals may have access to, thus generating possible E.coli bacteria.

Related Content: Deadly E. coli outbreak tied to romaine spreads

The lettuce at H2O is grown inside a greenhouse, using a process called hydroponic growing. The lettuce is grown on trays that are put in water.

“It’s full of fertilizer that allows the romaine or any other leaflet to grow fast enough with great nutrition,” Tovias said. 

It also eliminates exposure to animals and E.coli because animals are not permitted inside the greenhouse. Under hydroponic growing, Tovias can also control the temperature inside and there’s no impact from negative weather conditions.

“You have control over whats going on,” he said. “You control the growth,  the hygiene of the product, and the final stage which is the product itself. It’s clean, safe and controlled.”

Tovias believes the hydroponic process will be the future of growing. It’s been a hit so far at H2O. Tovias showed us results of E.coli testing done by an independent lab.

“And zeros all over,” he said.

That means no traces of E.coli bacteria on any of the lettuce at H2O.

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