Colorado cantaloupe farmers, Eric and Ryan Jensen, sentenced in 2011 deadly listeria outbreak case

DENVER - Two Colorado cantaloupe farmers who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a deadly listeria outbreak in 2011 will not serve any jail time.

Brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen were sentenced to six months of home detention, five years of probation and 100 hours of community service. They were also ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution.

Ryan Jensen agreed to attend a substance abuse program and take drug tests.

Eric Jensen agreed to provide a DNA sample.

Both brothers pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor counts of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.

The outbreak caused approximately 33 deaths and sickened 147 people in 28 states.

In court Tuesday, the prosecutor said they're closer to 40 deaths in this case than to 33.

Many of the victims and their relatives are in court and some plan to testify.

"They’ve always accepted responsibility. They've always shown absolute remorse," the prosecution stated. "They’re going to carry the burden of 40 deaths with them for the rest of their lives."

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

Prosecutors are also asking for probation, in part because the brothers met with the families of many of the victims and assisted in the investigation.

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