Faricy Law Firm, P.A.
Free Consultation
Local 612-927-2590
Toll-free 800-410-5052

Deadly Listeria outbreak farmers receive probation

Two brothers who ran a cantaloupe farm and were convicted of being the source of one of the deadliest outbreaks of Listeria in the U.S., avoided prison time as part of their sentence by a federal judge. The 2011 Listeria outbreak killed 35 people and sickened 146 others throughout the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The two brothers received five years of probation, six months house arrest and each was fined $150,000. They could have been sentenced to time in federal prison and a $1.5 million fine. 

Any contaminated or adulterated food that moves into the stream of commerce is a defective product and a hazard. Fruits and vegetables pose a particular risk, because they are grown in soil and often arrive at processing plants contaminated. This contamination can then be spread to interior of the item if the skin or rind is not properly cleaned.

Listeria is frequently present in the soil, and is carried on fruits and vegetables. It can grow on food even when kept under refrigeration and was found on the cantaloupe farm in processing equipment and standing water. As is demonstrated by this outbreak, it can be deadly and can be easily spread on uncooked vegetables and fruit, like cantaloupe.

This case also shows that use of third-party contractors by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is potentially dangerous. A contractor that inspected the cantaloupe farm shortly before the Listeria outbreak gave the farm "high marks."

An investigation found out that third-party auditors do not always adhere to the FDA guidelines there are supposed to use during audits.

Source: Food Poisoning Bulletin, "Cantaloupe Farmers Avoid Prison After Deadly Listeria Outbreak," Carla Gillespie, January 28, 2014 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information