Crops and production have been badly affected, resulting in a shortage of bagged salads.
Struggling to find your favorite bagged lettuce at the local grocery store? You are not the only one. Lettuce is quite hard to come by at the moment and will likely continue to be due to two unfortunate events that have affected lettuce crops and production over the past six months. So if you like to mix a salad for dinner or grab a salad kit when you need something quick for lunch, this series of unfortunate events can affect your usual eating routine.
Why is there a shortage of lettuce right now?
Unfortunately, the lettuce shortage is caused by two separate events that are causing prices to skyrocket and bags of lettuce are pretty scarce.
The first concerns a cyberattack that occurred in Dole in February. Dole is a world leader in the agriculture of fresh fruits and vegetables and a leading supplier of bagged lettuce to grocery stores. However, on February 22, Dole issued a press release informing the public that they have been victims of a ransomware cyber attack.
Emanuel Lazopoulos, senior vice president of Dole’s Fresh Vegetables division, said Dole Food Company was forced to shut down its systems across North America in a note to retailers Feb. 10. This includes four processing plants, which employ more than 3,000 people, according to for CNN.
The timing of this cyberattack is also unfortunate given that lettuce crops have already been hit hard due to a virus that took hold of crops in California’s Salinas Valley. According Penn State University. Crops infected with the virus must be isolated to control it, but if crops are not, it can spread easily, which was the reality for many lettuce crops from the Salinas Valley in late 2022.
How long will Dole’s systems be down?
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At this time, it is unknown how long Dole’s systems will be shut down. According to its recent press release, Dole is working with third-party cybersecurity experts and has notified law enforcement of the incident, hoping to quickly remedy the issue with their security systems.
However, as production has been limited, this means that your usual bagged salads and takeaway salad kits could be affected by this cyberattack. Finding bagged lettuce may be difficult over the next few weeks or months, and if available, it could likely be very expensive due to supply and demand costs.
Tips for Other Types of Salads That Don’t Need Lettuce
If bagged lettuce isn’t available at the store right now (or if the bags currently in store are completely out of your price range), there are still plenty of salad options you can combine that don’t require leafy greens as an ingredient. These salads without lettuce will make a tasty addition to any meal or make a great meal on its own!
Cereal salads work well if you need something hearty – they’re usually made with grains like corn, brown rice, quinoa, barley, or bulgur.
Salads in the oven are also a great option if you’re looking for something warmer in the colder months. These call for the use of kale, which is a crop that has not been affected by the INSV virus in California.