Jensen Farms, the Colorado cantaloupe grower responsible for last year’s Listeria cantaloupe outbreak, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.


The bankruptcy filings list a number of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits filed against the farm that resulted from the outbreak that sickened 146 people and killed 36.



According to Jensen Farms’ bankruptcy lawyer, in an interview with the Denver Post, Jensen’s decision to file for bankruptcy will eventually free up millions of dollars in insurance money and other funds to pay victims.

Attorney and Food Safety News publisher Bill Marler represents 37 clients in the suit, including 12 of those who died.


Now, Marler said, they can move on to lawsuits against companies further down the supply chain: Frontera Produce, the cantaloupe distributor; retailers such as Walmart and Kroger; and Primus Labs, the third-party auditor whose subcontractor, Bio-Food Safety, gave Jensen Farms facilities a ‘superior’ inspection rating just six days before the outbreak began.


“Bankruptcy of Jensen Farms was a necessary prerequisite to allowing families of those who died and those who were injured to seek compensation against Frontera, Primus, suppliers and retailers,” Marler said.


The Jensen Farms Listeria outbreak was one of the deadliest foodborne illness outbreaks in the history of the United States.


Read the bankruptcy filings here.

  • FDA needs to conduct more random food inspections of manufactures, processers, packers, preparers, storage, etc. Random inspections catches particular problems prior to the food product entering commerce, from fork to table. When you let members of the food supply chain know your coming, it gives them the opportunity to clean up and address violations prior to inspection. Notwithstanding, the problem lies in the fact that some manufactures can place a bandaid on a particular problem, just so that the potential problem can pass inspection.
    Jensen Farms is a good case of what happens when you let a manufacture know your coming. Letting manufactures, processors, etc. know your coming actutally works against the key and core elements of ‘prevention’. Reinspection fees and random inspections are two of our best weapons against foodborne illness outbreaks, and both are a key component of our prevention strategies and outcome goals. Together, they are strong allies in the fight against foodborne illness outbreaks and negligence in the food supply chain. They both work together to strengthen the food supply chain, while reinforcing, and complementing other prevention techniques and strategies. And they work hand-in-hand (complementarily) to reduce the number of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States. I cannot stress how important it is to include random inspections as an enforcement strategy and major focus in mitigating foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States.