Amid E. coli warning, St. Pete farmers provide worry-free romaine

Posted Nov 21 2018 06:51PM EST

Video Posted Nov 21 2018 06:20PM EST

ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - The Center for Disease Control is continuing its warning to stay away from all romaine lettuce as the agency works to trace an E. coli outbreak.

As CDC officials warn of a particularly dangerous strain of the bacteria, one business in St. Pete says they are profiting from the government's warning – saying their lettuce is totally safe.

"This is exactly why we exist,” said Shannon O’Malley, owner of Brick Street Farms.

O’Malley owns and operates a hydroponic, full-scale farm out of several re-purposed shipping containers near Tropicana Field. O’Malley says her lettuce is grown without dirt, in a highly sterile environment and that there's no risk.  She says her business is surging.

"There's no dirt, no bugs, no chemicals, no pesticides, no fertilizers, no animal products," she said.

Lettuce with no worries over E. coli means one day before Thanksgiving – her business is slammed.

Jeffery Jew is the head chef of Stillwaters Grill and Tavern. He says he’s only serving Brick Street lettuce and is buying as much as he can.

"It's really cool that our servers are able to go to the tables and say he we get our lettuce locally, it's grown not in soil so it's safe to eat,” Jew said.

O’Malley says this is the sixth E. coli outbreak this year that has caused her business to surge, in some cases by more than 50 percent.

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