Crop One Holdings (“Crop One” or “the Company”), the world’s largest vertical farm operator through its FreshBox Farms brand, would like to inform all of its customers – including individuals, wholesalers, and retail distributors – that it is voluntarily complying with the CDC’s Food Safety Alert, even though Crop One believes that the CDC warning regarding potential E. coli contamination of romaine lettuce does not apply to FreshBox Farms’ romaine lettuce and other leafy greens grown using the Company’s unique controlled indoor farming systems. Crop One appreciates that the CDC uses these types of broad and general alerts when it knows the cause of contamination, but cannot identify the specific source, and understands that traceability of leafy greens is very limited or not possible for many farmers.
FreshBox Farms abides by the strictest health and safety standards, using operating procedures certified by the USDA Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices programs. The traceability of the farm’s leaves goes back to the 2’ x 4’ shelf in which it was grown. FreshBox Farms also relies on a stringent data collection system, using layers of digital sensors and controls to gather substantial amounts of information on each plant – from seed to harvest.
Using a variety of controlled environment agriculture technologies, FreshBox Farms grows its leafy greens in soilless, modular enclosures further protected from potential outdoor contaminants by being inside a sealed warehouse. Unlike other vertical farmers or greenhouses, FreshBox Farms’ dual ‘box within a box’ system provides multiple layers of hygiene protection and control. In addition to being insulated from outdoor pollutants and diseases, plants are grown with highly purified water produced by an on-site water treatment system.
Unlike “ready-to-eat” packaged greens, FreshBox Farms does not expose its leafy greens to potentially contaminated water through triple washing, and even its waste water is potable. FreshBox Farms’ leafy greens are so clean that Crop One is the only Kosher-certified vertical farmer in the United States. Products leave FreshBox Farms with 1/600th the bacteria of field grown, triple washed products.
“Yesterday’s warning by the CDC is a wise precaution and certainly in the best interest of the public,” said Dr. Deane Falcone, Chief Scientific Officer of Crop One Holdings. “That said, we feel FreshBox Farms’ customers should know that our produce is grown in controlled, tightly-sealed environments with filtered air and water, and our plants are never touched by more than three gloved and gowned individuals. This distinctive indoor production method protects our produce from potential pathogens found in water, soil, or fecal matter, which are the typical causes of E. coli outbreaks.”
Sonia Lo, Chief Executive Officer of Crop One Holdings added to Dr. Falcone’s comments, “As a result of our commitment to innovation and accountability, as well our responsibility to the health of our consumers and the planet, FreshBox Farms continues to grow the cleanest, freshest and best-tasting produce possible for our customers. Our wish this holiday season is to support our customers as best as we can, and ensure them that they can continue to rely on FreshBox Farms to provide safe, healthy, delicious leafy greens this Thanksgiving. We have reached out to our local FDA offices to continue this dialogue on food traceability and cleanliness, practices at Crop One which surpass other greenhouse and vertical farming methods.”
About Crop One Holdings
San Mateo, California-based Crop One Holdings is a vertical farming holding company for two subsidiaries – FreshBox Farms, Millis, Mass., and a joint venture with Emirates Flight Catering, Dubai South, United Emirates. Crop One has been in continuous commercial production longer than any other major vertical farmer in the U.S. It produces the highest crop yield per square foot, at 25% of the capital cost of any vertical farm, due to its unique combination of proprietary technology platform and best-in-class plant science. For more information on Crop One or vertical farming, please visit the Company website at croponeholdings.com or follow FreshBox Farms on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram for the latest company news.