In a different viewpoint not often considered in recalls and market advisories that send tons of fresh produce to landfills, the U.S. Composting Council is urging the industry to compost romaine linked to an E. coli outbreak.
The council asks members of the produce industry to divert Salinas, Calif., romaine to an industrial composter.
“Industrial-scale composting, whether private or municipal, achieves the temperatures and holding times to eliminate human pathogens," Frank Franciosi, the council’s executive director, said in a news release. "While you don't want to eat it, there is no reason to put it in a landfill, where it will generate methane, a significant greenhouse gas and cause of global climate change."
The U.S. Composting Council cites the Environmental Protecting Agency: temperatures of 131 degrees for three days will kill human pathogens, and large compost piles will exceed that in time and temperature, reaching 150 degrees over many weeks while the material is converted to compost.
The composting council on its website lists commercial and municipal composters on its website.