2011 listeria outbreak suit over for 2 New Mexicans

Walmart shopping center

(ALBUQUERQUE) KRQE – Walmart has settled with the estate of two men who died after a listeria outbreak.

John Martin of Gallup, NM and Vernon Christiansen of Albuquerque were two of the five New Mexicans who died after eating tainted cantaloupe in 2011.

Their estates filed a lawsuit against Walmart which sold the fruit. The retail giant is not disclosing the details of the settlement.

Listeria is usually caused by animal excrement in the water or soil.

Investigation of the Outbreak
Collaborative investigations by local, state, and federal public health and regulatory agencies indicated that the source of the outbreak was whole cantaloupe grown at Jensen Farms’ production fields in Granada, Colorado. Among the 144 ill persons with available information on what they ate, 134 (93%) reported consuming cantaloupe in the month before illness onset. Several ill persons remembered the type of cantaloupes they had eaten and said they were Rocky Ford cantaloupes, which are grown in the Rocky Ford region of southeastern Colorado. Source tracing of the cantaloupes that ill persons ate indicated that they came from Jensen Farms, and were marketed as being from the Rocky Ford region. These cantaloupes were shipped from July 29 through September 10 to at least 24 statesExternal Web Site Icon , with possible further distribution.

In all, 33 people died and 147 were hospitalized in 28 states.

The Colorado farm owners pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. They were sentenced to six months home detention and five years probation.

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