Gallup man’s listeria death prompts lawsuit

GALLUP, N.M. — The family of a New Mexico man who died after eating listeria-contaminated cantaloupe is suing a produce distribution company, a food-safety firm and Wal-Mart.

In a related development, two brothers who owned the Colorado cantaloupe farm behind the 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people pleaded guilty Tuesday to criminal charges, the Denver Post reported.

A Seattle law firm filed the lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of the family of John Martin, 77, of Gallup, The Associated Press reported. The complaint alleges Martin fell ill with a listeria infection after eating a cantaloupe purchased at a Wal-Mart in Gallup in September 2011.

Martin was one of several New Mexicans who died in 2011 after eating listeria-contaminated cantaloupe. In all, 33 deaths were reported and 147 people were hospitalized in 28 states.

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen, 33, each pleaded guilty to six federal misdemeanor counts of introducing and delivering adulterated food into interstate commerce.

Cantaloupes grown at Jensen’s Farm in Grenada, Colo., were brought to their processing center and transferred to a conveyor system for cleaning, cooling and packaging, according to their plea agreement.















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