Lawsuit Targets Colorado Cantaloupe Grower

A lawsuit filed on behalf of a Hobbs, N.M., woman who died in September after eating contaminated fruit says food safety auditors gave a Colorado cantaloupe farm a “superior” rating for safety and quality just weeks before health officials identified it as the source of a deadly bacterial outbreak.

The Albuquerque Journal reports a Seattle law firm filed the lawsuit on behalf of 96-year-old Florence Wilcox. She’s one of five New Mexicans who died this fall after eating listeria-contaminated cantaloupe. The outbreak sickened 15 others in New Mexico.

Colorado grower Jensen Farms and two food-safety firms hired to audit the cantaloupe grower in July were named in the suit.

Seattle attorney Bill Marler says the lawsuit is the first filed in New Mexico on behalf of a victim of the listeria outbreak.