Documents Legal, Laws, and Regs

Following the Track of a foodborne killer: Jenson Farms 404(b) notice

Attorney Bill Marler is providing a copy of the 404(b) Notice for the Jenson brothers criminal trial.

If you’re not familiar with this case, the Jenson brothers were charged with introducing adulterated cantaloupes into interstate commerce. The cantaloupes, contaminated with the deadly Listeria monocytogenes, eventually killed 33 people and hospitalized 147 others. It’s one of the worst foodborne illness outbreak in modern times in the US.

The 404(b) Notice is a way of ensuring no gotchas in the criminal case by providing the defendants the state’s evidence ahead of the trial.

I’m not normally interested in criminal cases, but I am interested in food safety. The document is a fascinating, albeit sad and frightening, tracing of a killer as pernicious as a serial murderer, and ultimately more dangerous than terrorism. It also does raise questions as to why the third-party auditor was also not charged, for complicity, by providing a passing grade for the Jenson Brothers packing operation. I imagine, though, the responsibility for the alleged action ultimately resides on those who controlled the process: the Jenson brothers.

Appreciations to Bill Marler for providing access to this document.

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