No jail time for Jensens in cantaloupe Listeria outbreak

A federal judge in Denver sentenced Eric and Ryan Jensen each to six months of home detention and five years probation for selling Listeria contaminated cantaloupe in 2011 that killed 33 and sickened 147 people across 28 states.

The brothers, who owned and operated Jensen Farms, Granada, Colo., pleaded guilty last year to six federal misdemeanors of introducing an adulterated food into interstate cantaloupecommerce. They could have faced up to six years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

Coral Beach of The Packer reports the judge also ordered the Jensens each to pay restitution of $150,000 and to do 100 hours of community service, according to U.S. Attorney’s office in Denver. Ryan Jensen agreed to attend a substance abuse program and take drug tests and Eric Jensen agreed to provide a DNA sample, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The Jan. 28 ruling by Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty came after the U.S. Attorney’s office and officials from the federal probation and parole office recommended probation in the case.

“These defendants were at worse negligent or reckless in their acts and omissions,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Pena wrote in a court document recommending probation.