The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Wal-Mart settles with cantaloupe victims from Colorado listeria outbreak

  • Print

DENVER - Wal-Mart said Tuesday that the company has agreed to settle claims from many of the families of victims who died in a 2011 listeria outbreak that killed 33 people and was traced to a Colorado cantaloupe farm.

The company settled with 23 families, including nine in Colorado, said Bill Marler, the families' attorney. The terms of the settlements were kept confidential.

Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the company is "committed to our customers' safety and we take food safety concerns like this very seriously."

Hargrove said Wal-Mart stores in Colorado and other states removed the contaminated cantaloupe from the produce department as soon as the company learned of the outbreak, but some relatives said the company did not react fast enough.

Two Colorado cantaloupe farmers pleaded guilty to misdemeanour charges stemming from the deadly outbreak and were sentenced to five years of probation and six months of home detention. A federal magistrate also ordered brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen to each pay $150,000 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service.

They pleaded guilty last year to introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.

According to federal regulators, conditions at Jensen Farms caused the outbreak. Investigators said the melons likely were contaminated in the farm's packing house because of dirty water on the floor and old, hard-to-clean equipment.

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, sued the companies that inspected and delivered the cantaloupes, but those claims were resolved with this settlement, The Denver Post reported Tuesday (http://tinyurl.com/jwdoe7l).

Numerous lawsuits against other retailers who sold the contaminated melons still are pending. Those include Kroger, or King Soopers, as well as distributor Frontera Produce and farm inspection company Primus Labs.

About one week before Colorado officials detected the outbreak's first victim, an inspector sent by Primus gave the melon farm a 96 per cent "superior" rating.

Jensen Farms, a fourth-generation farm in southeastern Colorado, filed for bankruptcy within a year of the outbreak, and lawsuits against the farm were resolved through bankruptcy court.

Marler's law firm has filed lawsuits on behalf of 44 families, representing 28 who died and 17 who were sickened but survived, against multiple defendants in 12 states. Medical expenses from those cases total more than $12 million, Marler said.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Soca and Reggae Festival and Weekend Weather

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two Canada geese fly Wednesday afternoon at Oak Hammock Marsh- Front bird is banded for identification- Goose Challenge Day 3- - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on a report that shows violent crime is decreasing in Winnipeg?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google