First Lawsuit Filed in Listeria Outbreak
September 17, 2011

First Lawsuit Filed in Listeria Outbreak


The first lawsuit has been filed in the wake of a listeria outbreak that has already killed at least two people and caused 22 others to fall ill in seven states, Kevin Dolak of ABC News reported Friday.

The listeria had been traced back to tainted cantaloupe originating from Jensen Farms of Colorado. Now, a lawsuit has been filed against Jensen Farms by Tammy Palmer and her husband Charles, who remains hospitalized after eating some of the contaminated fruit.

According to Dolak, 71-year-old Charles, a retired Marine sergeant, was rushed to a Colorado Springs hospital earlier this month after his wife discovered him suffering some of the symptoms of listeria poisoning, including fever, muscle and headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and in his case, paralysis and the inability to speak.

Walmart, where the Palmers purchased the melon, was also named in the lawsuit.

Amy Philpott, a spokeswoman with Jensen Farms, told Stephen K. Paulson of the Associated Press (AP) Thursday that they were issuing a recall of their Rocky Ford cantaloupes after one of them tested positive for the bacteria. The melons had been shipped to at least 17 states, according to Reuters.

"Jensen Farms continues to stay committed to the highest levels of food safety and maintains many third party safety audits, as we have for many years," Ryan Jensen, a partner in the farm, said in a statement, according to Reuters. "We continually look for ways to enhance our protocol."

However, the AP also noted that more testing was required to determine whether or not the strain was the same one that had been linked to the outbreak, which has affected people in Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"The cantaloupes were shipped between July 29 and Sept. 10 and distributed throughout Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania," said Paulson.


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