Farmers to be sentenced in fatal listeria outbreak

DENVER (AP) — Two Colorado cantaloupe farmers who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a deadly listeria outbreak in 2011 are scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday.

Eric and Ryan Jensen, the two brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo., will be sentenced in federal court. They pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor counts of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce, which carry penalties of up to six years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

The outbreak was traced to tainted fruit from the farm, causing 33 deaths and sending scores of people to hospitals. People in 28 states ate the contaminated fruit, and 147 were hospitalized.

The Jensens asked for probation, saying jail time is excessive because justice has been served with the imposition of new food guidelines.

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