Bllomberg’s Stephanie Armour posted “Cantaloupe Outbreak Targeted by U.S. Prosecutors, Lawyer Says” a few moments ago. Here is the story:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado is investigating a deadly 2011 listeria outbreak traced to a cantaloupe processor in the state, according to a lawyer for victims.
The outbreak triggered by the contaminated fruit killed at least 30 people, sickened another 146 and was the deadliest in almost 90 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A congressional investigation found the incident may have been avoided if the processor, Jensen Farms in Granada, Colorado, had followed U.S. food-safety guidelines.
“The investigators were here three weeks ago and we turned over all the files on death cases to them,” Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer at Marler Clark LLP who represents 42 victims of the outbreak, including the families of about 20 people who died, said in an interview. “It’s an ongoing investigation.”
Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the Denver-based U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined to comment about the reported criminal investigation.
James Markus, a lawyer in Denver representing Jensen Farms, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
Jensen Farms in July filed for bankruptcy in Denver and settlement talks are under way in lawsuits involving victims of the outbreak against the processors and grocers that sold the contaminated cantaloupe, Marler said.
Marler said he yesterday sent an e-mail to the victims he represents alerting them to the probe, which he said is unusual in cases of foodborne illness outbreaks.