UPDATE: 10/22/13 1:53 PM CDT
DENVER (AP) -- Two Colorado farmers whose cantaloupes were tied to a 2011 listeria outbreak that killed 33 people have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges.
Eric and Ryan Jensen pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Denver to six counts of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.
A sentencing hearing has been set for Jan. 28. The deal didn't address the brothers' possible punishment.
Officials say people in 28 states ate the contaminated fruit and 147 were hospitalized.
A statement from the Jensens' attorneys says the brothers were shocked and saddened by the deaths, but the guilty pleas do not imply any intentional wrongdoing or knowledge that the cantaloupes were contaminated.
The brothers have sued the safety auditor who gave their farm a superior rating just before the outbreak.
DENVER (AP) — Two Colorado cantaloupe farmers are expected to plead guilty under a deal with federal prosecutors in the 2011 listeria outbreak that killed 33 people.
Eric and Ryan Jensen have a change-of-plea hearing scheduled in federal court in Denver on Tuesday. They were charged last month with introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. At the time, the Food and Drug Administration said the rare move was meant to send a message to food producers.
Criminal charges are rare in food-borne illnesses, but the FDA under President Barack Obama has been more aggressive in pursuing farmers and food processors for alleged lapses.
The brothers filed documents last week notifying the court that they would plead guilty to unspecified charges under their agreements.
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