In 2011, a listeria outbreak tied to contaminated cantaloupe caused the death of at least 33 people and more than 140 additional cases of food poisoning. Now, the farm responsible for the growth and distribution of these melons has reached settlement agreements with more than 50 food poisoning lawsuits brought by individuals affected by this outbreak.
According to an Associated Press report, the listeria outbreak was traced to cantaloupe grown and distributed by Jansen Farms. The settlements reached earlier this week will close the majority of the wrongful death lawsuits brought against Jansen Farms in the wake of the outbreak.
While the amounts of the settlements are confidential, a source reports that the medical bills of the individuals affected with this listeria outbreak totaled more than $12 million. The lawsuits were filed across at least 12 states, and named additional defendants as Frontera Produce, WalMart, and Bio Food Safety, the company responsible for inspecting Jansen Farms before the outbreak was discovered.
The brothers behind Jensen Farms, Ryan and Eric Jensen, have pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. They were given 5 years of probation and ordered to perform community service and pay $150,000 in restitution.
Federal regulators determined that the listeria outbreak was a result of improper conditionsat the Jensen Farms facilities, including dirty water on the floor and unclean equipment in the packing house.
Listeria is not one of the most common forms of food poisoning, but it can be very serious. Many cases of listeria require hospitalization to treat symptoms such as fevers, vomiting, and diarrhea. Listeria can be particularly dangerous or even fatal for elderly patients, young children, or other individuals who have compromised immune systems.
If you believe that contaminated food caused your illness, it may be possible for you to recover compensation for your suffering in a food poisoning lawsuit. For more information on foodborne illness lawsuits, contact a personal injury attorney.