Jensen Farms fined for substandard housing - The Packer

Jensen Farms fined for substandard housing

01/20/2012 02:25:00 PM
Andy Nelson

The Colorado cantaloupe grower-shipper linked to the deadly 2011 listeria outbreak has been fined for housing migrant workers in substandard conditions.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division fined Granada, Colo.-based Jensen Farms $4,250 for failing to meet safety and health requirements under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, according to an agency news release.

Investigators from the agency’s Denver office found overcrowded rooms without beds, windows that didn’t open, inadequate laundry facilities, unsanitary conditions and a lack of smoke detectors, all in violation of the act.

In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determined that unsanitary conditions at Jensen Farms’ packing facility were likely contributors to the listeria outbreak, which killed 30 and sickened 146 people in 28 states.

Jensen Farms co-owner Eric Jensen could not be reached for comment Jan. 20.

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CALGARY  |  January, 21, 2012 at 05:47 PM

Low fines are just a cost of doing business. Time for wholesalers to insist on HACCP docs on all at risk produce. USDA should be insisting on a QC manager of their own, inhouse at chronic violators. Lastly consumers should start asking what standards do their retailers insist on.

Produce Guy    
Texas  |  January, 23, 2012 at 07:37 AM

Great idea Isaac, just one problem: Retailers are engaged in a ridiculuous price war that is not really compatible with food safety or any kind of standards at all. When you force your suppliers to match unrealistic pricing that does not take into consideration the cost of doing things right" then don't be surprised when corners are cut. I agree with Isaac, it's time to do things right, but this effort MUST START with retailers by recognizing suppliers that invest in food safety and by supporting them to help them thrive. They know (or should know) where their produce comes from based on the price they are paying. It's time to stop looking the other way!

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