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Mucci Farms, execs charged with fraud

A court hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 15 in connection with charges filed against two top officials at Mucci Farms, headquartered in Kingsville, ON. General Manager Danny Mucci and Vice President of Sales and Marketing Joe Spano face charges of defrauding the public and three major grocery store chains by misrepresenting the country of origin of greenhouse vegetables the company markets.

Mucci Farms is also being charged as a business in the case. The retail outlets involved are Costco Wholesale, Sobeys Inc. and Loblaw Cos.

According to court documents filed in Ontario, the men are charged with violations of the Criminal Code, Canadian Agricultural Products Act, Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Regulations, Food & Drug Act and the Consumer Packaging & Labelling Act.

In a prior interview, Spano told The Produce News the company owns and operates 150 acres in greenhouse production and represents an additional 400 acres of Canadian greenhouses. Mucci also represents Mexican growers with an additional 200-300 acres in production.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting an investigation into the case.

When asked about the involvement of the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., Fred Webber, president and chief executive officer, said, “It would not be appropriate for DRC to comment on any ongoing investigation or any pending charges. From a broad perspective, DRC members all have standards and responsibilities they must maintain to continue as DRC members. Any member found guilty of breaching those standards and responsibilities could be terminated or required to post financial security.”

Attorney Patrick Ducharme, a senior partner at the Windsor law firm of Ducharme & Fox LLP, is representing the defendants. The Produce News reached him in Miami on July 30 for his comments.

“Yes, I’ve been advised of the charges and expect the case will go to trial,” he stated. Ducharme said he had not received disclosures from the prosecutors prior to his trip to Miami.

Emily Murracas, marketing director for Mucci Farms, also provided The Produce News with a brief statement on July 30. “We cannot comment at this time because of pending litigation,” she said. “But we’re staying positive at this time.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Mucci Farms, execs charged with fraud

A court hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 15 in connection with charges filed against two top officials at Mucci Farms, headquartered in Kingsville, ON. General Manager Danny Mucci and Vice President of Sales and Marketing Joe Spano face charges of defrauding the public and three major grocery store chains by misrepresenting the country of origin of greenhouse vegetables the company markets.

Mucci Farms is also being charged as a business in the case. The retail outlets involved are Costco Wholesale, Sobeys Inc. and Loblaw Cos.

According to court documents filed in Ontario, the men are charged with violations of the Criminal Code, Canadian Agricultural Products Act, Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Regulations, Food & Drug Act and the Consumer Packaging & Labelling Act.

In a prior interview, Spano told The Produce News the company owns and operates 150 acres in greenhouse production and represents an additional 400 acres of Canadian greenhouses. Mucci also represents Mexican growers with an additional 200-300 acres in production.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting an investigation into the case.

When asked about the involvement of the Fruit & Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corp., Fred Webber, president and chief executive officer, said, “It would not be appropriate for DRC to comment on any ongoing investigation or any pending charges. From a broad perspective, DRC members all have standards and responsibilities they must maintain to continue as DRC members. Any member found guilty of breaching those standards and responsibilities could be terminated or required to post financial security.”

Attorney Patrick Ducharme, a senior partner at the Windsor law firm of Ducharme & Fox LLP, is representing the defendants. The Produce News reached him in Miami on July 30 for his comments.

“Yes, I’ve been advised of the charges and expect the case will go to trial,” he stated. Ducharme said he had not received disclosures from the prosecutors prior to his trip to Miami.

Emily Murracas, marketing director for Mucci Farms, also provided The Produce News with a brief statement on July 30. “We cannot comment at this time because of pending litigation,” she said. “But we’re staying positive at this time.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Three Federal Felonies Charged in Shell Egg Recall Case

U.S. attorneys in Iowa have charged the company and the man once known as “The Chicken King” and his son with three federal felonies counts each, including bribery of a public official.

Austin (Jack) DeCoster and his son, Peter DeCoster, were charged Wednesday in connection with the 2010 recall of more than a half-billion shell eggs associated with added cases of Salmonella Enteriditis then being experienced throughout the nation.

The Salmonella outbreak was sourced back to two Iowa egg farms owned and operated by the DeCosters. At its peak, Jack DeCoster’s egg empire stretched from Maine to Iowa, making him one the largest egg producers in the country (and earning him his former title).

Salmonella Enteritidis is a very common strain of the pathogen; however, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was able to identify 1,939 cases with an onset of illness from May 1 to Nov. 30, 2010, specifically associated with the recalled DeCoster eggs.

Charges have now been brought against the two men and their company, Quality Egg LLC, which did business in rural Iowa as Wright County Egg and Environ.

The bribery of a public official charge alleges that Quality Egg LLC “did, directly and indirectly, corruptly give, offer, and promise a thing of value to a public official with the intent to influence an official act, and to induce a public official to do an act and omit to do an act in violation of the public official’s official duty.”

Quality Egg is accused of offering or promising to give money to a USDA inspector at the defendants’ egg production facility in Wright County, IA, with the intent to influence the government employee to release for sale shell eggs that were being retained by USDA for failing to meet standards of the federal Egg Products Inspection Act.

The company is also charged with introducing misbranded food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead. The misbranding of Quality Eggs being sold into interstate commerce occurred as early as 2006, according to charging documents. The company typically made the eggs “appear to be not as old as they actually were,” government attorneys said.

A third count of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce is charged against both the company and the two men as individuals. The government’s allegation is that the defendants were responsible for eggs containing “a poisonous and deleterious substance” that rendered them injurious to health but were nonetheless sold in the nation’s marketplaces.

A conviction on the public bribery charge would trigger forfeiture of “any property, real or personal, which constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to such violation, including but not limited to the amount of $ 10,000, representing proceeds of the offense.”

Food Safety News

Prosecution Must Show Parnell Had Knowledge of Crimes Charged

Patrick H. Hearn, one of the trial attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch, has turned in the government’s view of the importance of knowledge in the crimes with which Stewart Parnell is charged.

“Knowledge is an element of the crimes that defendant Stewart Parnell has been charged with in the indictment,” Hearn wrote in a short statement prosecutors have been allowed to file because they claimed one of Parnell’s defense attorneys had misstated the law.

Parnell’s defense team claims the government is just confused.

Hearn’s statement filed April 28 amounts to the last word in proceedings that have taken about two months to lay the groundwork so that U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands can make a pre-trial ruling about whether an expert witness can testify for Parnell.

Parnell and three other former executives of the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America are scheduled for a jury trial later this summer on 76 federal felony counts stemming from the 2008-2009 nationwide Salmonella outbreak that killed nine and sickened at least 700 people.

Defense attorneys for Parnell want to call as an expert witness at trial the neuropsychologist who claims Parnell suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Government attorneys say that Dr. Joseph C. Conley, Jr., does not merit that expert designation. It is up to Sands to make the call.

In his filing on the legal debate, Hearn points out that jury instructions dictated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit require proving that the defendant had knowledge for several of the most important crimes charged. These include conspiracy, interstate shipments fraud, wire fraud, adulteration and misbranding fraud, and obstruction of justice.

In addition to Hearn, DOJ trial attorney Mary M. Englehart and assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia K. Alan Dasher are prosecuting the former peanut company executives.

Food Safety News

Former Michigan Farmers’ Coop COO Charged With Felony Involving ‘Adulterated’ Soy Products

The former chief operating officer of a rural Michigan farmers’ cooperative has been charged with one felony count of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.

According to a story published Thursday in the Huron Daily Tribune, JoAnn Rutkowski of the former Thumb Oilseed Producers Cooperative in Ubly, MI, was indicted for causing the introduction of soy flour containing Salmonella into interstate commerce between December 2010 and January 2011, and that she did so “with the intent to defraud and mislead.”

Rutkowski pleaded not guilty March 11 before a federal magistrate in Bay City, MI, and is scheduled to go to trial in U.S. District Court there on July 8. If convicted, she could spend a maximum of three years in prison and pay a $ 10,000 fine.

The cooperative of 180 members in 10 Michigan counties produced and sold soy flour, soy grits and refined soy oil. After two FDA recalls of its products (in February 2010 and October 2011) for potential Salmonella and a subsequent $ 7-million lawsuit from a food manufacturer, the cooperative filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2012.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Jensen Brothers Charged With Six Federal Counts in Cantaloupe Case

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen,  33, the brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, located in Granada, Colorado, surrendered to U.S. Marshals in Denver today in connection with one of the most deadly outbreaks of food borne  illness in U.S. history.

They were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce stemming from the 2011 multistate Listeria outbreak sourced to cantaloupe grown in southeast Colorado near the Kansas border.

The charges were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation by United States Attorney John Walsh and FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Patrick Holland.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearance at 2:00 p.m. (MDT) before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.  At that hearing they will be advised of their rights as well as the charges pending against them.

According to the six-count Information filed under restriction on September 24, 2013, as well as other court records, Eric and Ryan Jensen allegedly introduced adulterated cantaloupe into interstate commerce.

Specifically, the cantaloupe bore the poisonous bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes.  The Information further states that the cantaloupe was prepared, packed and held under conditions that rendered it injurious to health.

Court documents state that the defendants set up and maintained a processing center where cantaloupes were taken from the field and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging.  The equipment should have worked in such a way that the cantaloupe would be washed with sufficient anti-bacterial solutions so that the fruit was cleaned of bacteria in the process.

In May of 2011 the Jensen brothers allegedly changed their cantaloupe cleaning system.

The new system, built to clean potatoes, was installed, and was to include a catch pan to which a chlorine spray could be included to clean the fruit of bacteria.  The chlorine spray, however, was never used.

The defendants were aware, according to the charges,  that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed.  The chlorine spray, if used, would have reduced the risk of microbial contamination of the fruit.

Investigation by the FDA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the defendants failed to adequately clean their cantaloupe.

Their actions allegedly resulted in at least six shipments of cantaloupe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes being sent to 28 different states.

The CDC tracked the outbreak-associated illness and determined that people living in 28 states consumed contaminated cantaloupe, resulting in 33 deaths and 147 hospitalizations.  Further, one woman pregnant at the time of her outbreak-related illness had a miscarriage.  Ten additional deaths not attributed to Listeriosis occurred among persons who had been infected by eating outbreak-related cantaloupe.

“As this case so tragically reminds us, food processors play a critical role in ensuring that our food is safe,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “They bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public.  Where they fail to live up to that responsibility, and as these charges demonstrate, this office and the Food and Drug Administration have a responsibility to act forcefully to enforce the law.”

“U.S. consumers should demand the highest standards of food safety and integrity,” said Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of the FDA-Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office.  “The filing of criminal charges in this deadly outbreak sends the message that absolute care must be taken to ensure that deadly pathogens do not enter our food supply chain.”

Both defendants have been charged with six counts of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each faces not more than one year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 per charge.

The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, the Center for Disease Control and the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena is prosecuting.

Food Safety News

Owner of Montana City Meats Charged With Assaulting State Meat Inspectors

Gary Wheelock, owner of Montana City Meats, posted a $ 2,695 bond to be released from jail last week after he was arrested for the alleged assault and unlawful restraint of two state Department of Livestock meat inspectors and for allegedly obstructing a peace officer.

In July, the Montana Department of Livestock suspended the license for Montana City Meats for 90 days after finding what it called “putrid” conditions in the company’s meat-processing plant. Wheelock was taken into custody last Tuesday during a follow-up visit by two state inspectors to the Jefferson County processing plant.

The five charges against Wheelock, including the assaults, are misdemeanors. Jefferson County Sheriff Craig Doolittle confirmed that the state meat inspectors were the alleged victims. Wheelock is also accused of not letting the inspectors depart and then with obstructing a law officer.

The meat-processing plant originally was visited by four state Livestock Department inspectors on July 11, and they immediately ordered the 90-day suspension of its license.

Gary Hamel, the state’s meat and poultry inspection chief, wrote the company on July 19, stating: “During that visit, we found several violations (of state law) including putrid sights and smells such as fly infestations, maggots, offal, bones and skins from a previous processing day, garbage strewn about, unfinished wood surfaces, rust, blood on the floor of the cooler, and a carcass that appeared to have been hanging too long that had developed a slick surface and an odor.”

The inspection chief also said that Montana City Meats sold misbranded meats on June 8 at the Helena Farmers Market with the “not for sale” labels removed.

In a second letter on July 23, Hamel said that Montana City Meats could stay its suspension for six months if the company corrected the problems, but when the two agents visited last Tuesday, they found conditions inside the plant had not been sufficiently improved. Hamel said that some clean-up had occurred but the physical condition of the plant “is not where it needs to be.”

Before his arrest, Wheelock told local media that he did not think the state’s actions were right and he’d involved an attorney in the license issue. He said the license suspension means he cannot process meat but can still pick up carcasses and deliver meat legally processed elsewhere.

Food Safety News