Brothers Face Criminal Charges for Listeria Outbreak
Brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen, owners of Jensen Farms in Colorado, were arrested Thursday in connection to a 2011 listeria outbreak which resulted in 33 deaths.
Listeria Outbreak Linked to Cantaloupe Farm
- 2011’s listeria outbreak is considered to be the most deadly U.S. food borne illness outbreak to occur in 25 years.
- Residents of 28 states consumed the contaminated fruit leading to 147 of people falling ill and 33 people dying of the infection.
- During investigations, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were able to trace the outbreak back to Jensen Farms and determine that the issue arose from contaminated cantaloupes that were not properly cleaned.
- At the time, the FDA noted that dirty water on the floor and old, hard to clean equipment likely contributed to the outbreak.
- The FDA later concluded that both Eric, 37, and Ryan, 33, knew that their cleaning equipment was not using proper antibacterial solutions to rid the cantaloupes of bacteria and as such were liable for the outbreak.
Jensen Brothers Face Prison for Listeria Outbreak
“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe. They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.” – John Walsh, U.S Attorney of the District of Colorado as published by CBS
- According to CBS, both brothers are facing six misdemeanor counts of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.
- It is a rare occurrence that criminal charges are brought in a food poisoning case as only four people have faced such charges in the past decade.
- If found guilty of all count, the Jensen’s face up to six years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.
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