Posted October 21, 2013
The Jensen brothers, growers who are set to plead guilty to federal criminal charged related the deadly 2011 listeria outbreak, are suing PrimusLabs, alleging that the food safety auditor gave them bad advice, according to an article by The Packer, available here.
The lawsuit, filed in Colorado state court, requests unspecified damages for Eric and Ryan Jensen the owners of the cantaloupe farm.  PrimusLabs is a Santa Maria, California, food safety auditor. 
The third-party food safety audit was conducted just before the Jensens began harvesting their cantaloupe in 2011 and scored the farm with 96 out of 100 points.
In a matter of weeks after the audit, people were infected with listeria.  At least 33 people died and more than 140 people were sickened by the outbreak strains of listeria found on the cantaloupe and in the Jensen’s packing facility. 
The Jensen brothers, the first growers to face criminal charges in relation to a foodborne illness outbreak, recently reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney on the six counts of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce, and aiding and abetting.  Both could be sentenced to up to six years and fined up to $1.5 million.  The Jensens are expected to enter their guilty pleas on Oct. 22, according to a 7 News – Denver article available here.


For background on the criminal case against the Jensens, a recent post from this blog is available here.  For more information on food safety, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.