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Jan 28, 2014 1:59 PM by David Randall

Farmers get probation in fatal listeria outbreak

DENVER - Two Colorado cantaloupe farmers who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a deadly listeria outbreak in 2011 were sentenced on Tuesday. Eric and Ryan Jensen, the two brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo., were sentenced in federal court.

The Jensen brothers was (sic) sentenced to five years probation for their part in the outbreak that killed at least 33 people. Eric also received six months in-house detention and will have to pay $150,000
in restitution. 

They pleaded guilty in 2013 to misdemeanor counts of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce, which carry penalties of up to six years in prison and $1.5 million in fines. 

The outbreak was traced to tainted fruit from the farm, causing 33 deaths and sending scores of people to hospitals. People in 28 states ate the contaminated
fruit, and 147 were hospitalized. 

The Jensens asked for probation, saying jail time is excessive because justice has been served with the imposition of new food guidelines.

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