US authorities have arrested two Colorado brothers who owned a cantaloupe farm linked to a listeria outbreak that killed 33 people in 2011. Eric and Ryan Jensen were charged with introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce - a criminal charge rarely used in food-poisoning cases.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined that the Jensens failed to adequately clean their produce. They have pleaded not guilty and have been released pending trial, which is scheduled to begin in December.
The outbreak was one of the nation's deadliest cases of food-borne illness, and seriously harmed the business of Colorado cantaloupe farmers. People in 28 US states ate the contaminated fruit, resulting in the 33 deaths, one miscarriage and 147 hospital admissions.
Officials say the outbreak was likely caused by pools of dirty water on the floor and old, hard-to-clean packing equipment at the Jensens' farm, which later filed for bankruptcy. The FDA said investigators found positive listeria samples on equipment and fruit at the operation's packing facility.Read more >>