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Wal-Mart settles with Colorado cantaloupe victims

By The Associated Press

This article was published May 14, 2014 at 7:55 a.m.

DENVER — Wal-Mart said Tuesday that the company has agreed to settle claims from many of the families of victims who died in a 2011 listeria outbreak that killed 33 people and was traced to a Colorado cantaloupe farm.

The company, based in Bentonville, settled with 23 families, including nine in Colorado, said Bill Marler, the families' attorney. The terms of the settlements were kept confidential.

Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the company is "committed to our customers' safety and we take food safety concerns like this very seriously."

Hargrove said Wal-Mart stores in Colorado and other states removed the contaminated cantaloupe from the produce department as soon as the company learned of the outbreak, but some relatives said the company did not react fast enough.

Two Colorado cantaloupe farmers pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from the deadly outbreak and were sentenced to five years of probation and six months of home detention. A federal magistrate also ordered brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen to each pay $150,000 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service.

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