Arrests Made in Connection With 2011 Listeria Outbreak

Arrests Made in Connection With 2011 Listeria Outbreak

By Audrey Castoreno
NewsWest 9

New details have been released in connection with a listeria outbreak from tainted cantaloupes two years ago.

You'll recall a Hobbs woman was one of 33 people who died from the outbreak.

Now, the owners of the Colorado farm linked the outbreak have been arrested.

Eric and Ryan Jensen, who are brothers, were arrested on Thursday on charges of introducing contaminated food into interstate commerce.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control determined the brothers didn't adequately clean the cantaloupe.

The Food and Drug Administration has said the melons likely were contaminated in Jensen Farms' packing house.

The agency concluded that dirty water on a floor and old, hard-to-clean equipment probably were to blame.

A number of lawsuits were filed by people who got sick or who had a family member die after the outbreak.

One lawsuit was filed on behalf of 96-year-old Florence Wilcox from Hobbs.

The suit says food safety auditors gave the farm a "superior" rating just weeks before health officials identified it as the source of a deadly listeria outbreak.

Wilcox was one of five New Mexicans who died after eating the contaminated cantaloupe.