Farm Linked to Listeria Outbreak Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Last fall, Jensen Farms recalled whole cantaloupes that had been distributed to 18 states. FDA said this was the first time a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak had been reportedly linked to whole cantaloupe.

Jensen Farms, a general partnership based in Holly, Colo., filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition May 25 in a federal bankruptcy court, eight months after its whole cantaloupes distributed in 18 states were implicated in a Listeria outbreak. Bill Marler, the Marler Clark (Seattle, Wash.) attorney for victims in the case, reports 146 people became sick and 36 of them died.

The bankruptcy petition, which is posted at Marler's blog, lists 12 wrongful death cases and seven personal injury cases currently pending against Jensen Farms.

FDA had warned consumers last fall not to eat Rocky Ford cantaloupes shipped by Jensen Farms and to throw out any they still possessed. The company voluntarily recalling Rocky Ford cantaloupes shipped from July 29 through Sept. 10, 2011, and distributed to states including Colorado, Illinois, Texas, Utah, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, and Pennsylvania.

FDA said this was the first time a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak had been reportedly linked to whole cantaloupe; foods typically associated with foodborne outbreaks of listeriosis include deli meats, hot dogs, and Mexican-style soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk.

Listeriosis can be fatal, especially in certain high-risk groups that include older adults, people with compromised immune systems, and unborn babies and newborns.

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