Former Egg Industry Executives Sentenced in Connection with 2010 Salmonella Outbreak

A father and son pled guilty to allowing the sale of ‘adulterated eggs’ into commerce

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

The sentences were reportedly determined by the ‘extent of harm caused’ and ‘the pattern of problems’ of the company, Quality Egg. 

Two former members of the egg industry — yes, there is such a thing — have received three-month jail terms for their roles in a major salmonella outbreak in 2010, reports The Associated Press.

Austin "Jack" DeCoster and his son, Peter DeCoster, both pled guilty last year to “introducing adulterated eggs into interstate commerce,” and initially faced up to a year in jail.

The family company, Quality Egg, admitted that employees knowingly shipped eggs with “false processing and expiration dates to fool state regulators and retail customers about their age,” according to the AP.

Furthermore, the company admitted to having bribed a USDA inspector to approve low-quality eggs for sale. The DeCosters are not thought to have conducted the bribes themselves, but prosecutors noted that their disregard for food safety made corruption possible.

“There's a litany of shameful conduct, in my view, that happened under their watch,” U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett said of the DeCosters.

Although their sentences are comparatively short, prosecutors have indicated that the sentencing is something of a landmark event, as executives so rarely serve time for corporate misconduct.

Quality Egg paid a fine of $6.8 million as part of a plea agreement, and each of the DeCoster men paid $100,000. 

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