"Given the defendants' careless oversight and repeated violations of safety standards, there is an increased likelihood that these offenses, or offenses like these, could happen again. The punishment will also serve to effectively deter against the marketing of unsafe foods and widespread harm to public health by similarly situated corporate officials and other executives in the industry." - U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett, upon sentencing Jack and Peter DeCoster, owners of Quality Egg, for causing a lethal salmonella outbreak
A couple of rotten eggs finally got their due. Well, sort of.
Martha Rosenberg reports on how after 33 years of labor, environmental, immigration, animal rights and food safety violations, two rotten eggs—Jack and Peter DeCoster—were finally ordered to jail for their role in a 2010 outbreak of salmonella poisoning. The reckoning was a long time coming, considering that as far back as 1982, at least one person had died from salmonella-infected eggs sold by the DeCoster-owned Quality Egg company. And in 1987, nine people died after eating DeCoster eggs, and 500 were sickened.
The DeCosters were each sentenced to three months in jail. Predictably, industry groups like National Association of Manufacturers and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (whose products are central to factory farming) called the sentences “unfair”—even though the DeCosters admitted that Quality Egg workers knowingly shipped eggs with false processing and expiration dates to fool state regulators and retail customers about their age and bribed a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector at least twice to approve sales of poor-quality eggs.
This whole sordid mess reminds us of why we are committed to bringing down factory farms, promoting alternatives (like regenerative poultry systems) and keeping the purveyors of “organic” and “pasture-raised” eggs honest (see our lawsuit against Handsome Brook Farms).