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.