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FDA: Criminal case shows food safety is paramount

  • Ryan Jensen, 33, front, and brother Eric Jensen, 37, leave the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The brothers owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

    Ryan Jensen, 33, front, and brother Eric Jensen, 37, leave the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The brothers owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Ryan Jensen, 33, front, and brother Eric Jensen, 37, leave the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The brothers owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

    Ryan Jensen, 33, front, and brother Eric Jensen, 37, leave the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The brothers owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Ryan Jensen, 33, front, and brother Eric Jensen, 37, leave the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The brothers owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

    Ryan Jensen, 33, front, and brother Eric Jensen, 37, leave the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The brothers owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Ryan Jensen, 33, leaves the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Ryan and his brother Eric owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

    Ryan Jensen, 33, leaves the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Ryan and his brother Eric owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Ryan Jensen, 33, leaves the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Ryan and his brother Eric owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

    Ryan Jensen, 33, leaves the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Ryan and his brother Eric owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Eric Jensen leaves the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Eric and his brother Ryan owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

    Eric Jensen leaves the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Eric and his brother Ryan owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Eric Jensen leaves the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Eric and his brother Ryan owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

    Eric Jensen leaves the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Eric and his brother Ryan owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2011, file photo, co-owner Eric Jensen examines cantaloupe on the Jensen Farms near Holly, Colo. Jensen and Ryan Jensen, 33, brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, presented themselves to U.S. Marshals in Denver, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, and were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. As many as 33 people died and more than 140 were hospitalized from Listeria found on Jensen Farms Cantaloupe. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2011, file photo, co-owner Eric Jensen examines cantaloupe on the Jensen Farms near Holly, Colo. Jensen and Ryan Jensen, 33, brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, presented themselves to U.S. Marshals in Denver, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, and were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. As many as 33 people died and more than 140 were hospitalized from Listeria found on Jensen Farms Cantaloupe. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

  • Ryan Jensen, 33, front, and brother Eric Jensen, 37, leave the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The brothers owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
  • Ryan Jensen, 33, front, and brother Eric Jensen, 37, leave the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The brothers owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
  • Ryan Jensen, 33, front, and brother Eric Jensen, 37, leave the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. The brothers owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
  • Ryan Jensen, 33, leaves the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Ryan and his brother Eric owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
  • Ryan Jensen, 33, leaves the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Ryan and his brother Eric owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
  • Eric Jensen leaves the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Eric and his brother Ryan owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
  • Eric Jensen leaves the federal courthouse in Denver on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, after a hearing on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Eric and his brother Ryan owned and operated Jensen Farms in southeast Colorado. They pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
  • FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2011, file photo, co-owner Eric Jensen examines cantaloupe on the Jensen Farms near Holly, Colo. Jensen and Ryan Jensen, 33, brothers who owned and operated Jensen Farms, presented themselves to U.S. Marshals in Denver, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, and were taken into custody on federal charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. As many as 33 people died and more than 140 were hospitalized from Listeria found on Jensen Farms Cantaloupe. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

Federal regulators say the criminal charges filed against two Colorado farmers over a deadly food-borne illness sends an emphatic message to crack down on food safety.

Cantaloupe farmers Eric and Ryan Jensen were charged in Denver federal court last week with introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.

Prosecutors say conditions on the Jensens’ farm led to a listeria outbreak that killed 33.

The Jensens pleaded not guilty.

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday the criminal case shows farmers must take “absolute care” to keep deadly pathogens out of food.

University of Georgia food safety expert Michael Doyle says improvements are possible. But he says it’s tougher to eliminate bacteria from fresh produce because it goes through fewer processing steps than some other foods do.

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