Colorado Farmers Plead Guilty in Listeria Outbreak Case

The two brothers' cantaloupes were part of a contamination outbreak that killed 33 people across 28 states in 2011

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Ed Andrieski / AP

These combination Sept. 26, 2013 file photos, show Ryan Jensen, left and Eric Jensen leaving federal court in Denver, Colo.

A pair of Colorado brothers, whose contaminated cantaloupes were linked to a listeria outbreak that killed 33 people in 2011, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in Denver Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors made entered a plea deal with Eric and Ryan Jensen. The pair pled guilty to six counts of “introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce,” the Associated Press reports. The deal did not include punishment but a sentencing hearing is slated for Jan. 28.

The brothers issued a statement that they did not intentionally sell contaminated fruit. They have filed a lawsuit against the safety auditor who rated their farm before the wave of food poisoning. Reports of illness spanned 28 states and 147 were hospitalized.

[Associated Press]