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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Wright County Egg seems to be in some hot water – too bad it is not 160 degrees

Eggs-Salmonella.jpg

AP reports a moment ago that “[h}undreds of people have been sickened in a salmonella outbreak linked to eggs in three states and possibly more, and health officials on Wednesday dramatically expanded a recall to 380 million eggs."  Goodness!

Earlier today I was reading Philip Brasher’s Blog (yes, in part because he mentioned me and our lawsuit against Wright County Egg) and was somewhat shocked that Wright County Egg is “[a] livestock industry giant with a long history of immigration and environmental problems is now connected to a nationwide recall of eggs that the government blames for an outbreak of salmonella poisoning.” Ouch! Mr. Brasher went further:

The elder DeCoster, a Maine native who set up business in Wright County in the 1980s, pleaded guilty to federal immigration charges in 2003 and paid a record $2.1 million in penalties. In 2001, the state Supreme Court ruled that DeCoster, a repeat violator of state environmental laws, could finance, but not build, hog confinement operations for his son. Earlier this year, the elder DeCoster paid a fine to settle animal state cruelty charges against his egg operations in Maine.

Ouch! Again.

Then can this from a Dutch Farms Family Press Release:

Wright County Eggs of Galt, Iowa used unauthorized egg cartons to package and sell eggs under the Dutch Farms name without Dutch Farms knowledge. These eggs, along with eggs packaged under more than ten other brand names are now subject to a product recall (announced 8/15/10). The unauthorized Dutch Farms eggs were distributed to Walgreens only in the following states: Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota and Arkansas. Legal representation has been sought in this matter to protect Dutch Farms’ customers and the Dutch Farms family.

Wright County Egg and the DeCosters seem to be having a very bad day – in addition to our lawsuit.

  • http://www.PoliticolNews.com P.Neisman

    The FDA is falling down on the job of regulating, inspecting and protecting the public from these atrocities in our food supply. This farm should have been shut down years ago, and still the government allows them to continue to poison the public. What is Obama’s new FDA administration doing but protecting corporate profits while endangering the public health. You wonder why health care costs are soaring these days.

  • http://jmainewoods.blogspot.com Mike S

    I just now decided to see if good old ‘Jack’ DeCoster was involved. He’s one slippery character who finally left Maine for new places to foul with his fowl & hog operations. He’s infamous in these parts. Some really see him as victim of overzealous legal & environmental types. Most of them work or worked for his operations.

    Then there’s those of us who consider him a plague on the decent farming operations everywhere, especially those here in Maine. He always seems to get away with a fine & at times having to ‘sell’ operations. A lot of the sales are financed by him, or even just a change of names in a string of complex businesses.

    He’s the type of character who should serve as the poster child for almost every violation of regulations possible. Now it seems he’s passed the family ‘biz’ on to his heir. Who the Hell thought it would be okay for him to finance his son’s (?) operations???

    His past problems here have ranged from inhumane treatment of animals to inhumane treatment of the hispanic workers he imported from Texas and housed in deplorable conditions. That was in addition to his OSHA, EPA, FDA, etc problems. As soon as he moved to Iowa we started reading of his problems there. His fingers are all over the operations he’s been tied to in my humble opinion.

  • http://jmainewoods.blogspot.com Mike S

    Saw this in a Los Angeles Times article on the ‘expanded’ recall:

    There have been financial ties between the people who own and operate Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms.
    Wright County Egg is headed up by Austin “Jack” DeCoster, whose Galt, Iowa, operation is where the initial 380 million recalled eggs were produced.
    In 2003, DeCoster made a $125-million investment in Ohio Fresh Eggs — a company co-owned by Orland Bethel, who is also the owner of Hillandale Farms. Ohio state officials questioned the investment, but a state court ultimately ruled there was no wrongdoing.

  • Paul

    “Off with His Head”

  • Joe

    re: “P.Neisman – August 19, 2010 11:37 AM
    The FDA is falling down on the job of regulating, inspecting and protecting the public from these atrocities in our food supply. This farm should have been shut down years ago, and still the government allows them to continue to poison the public. What is Obama’s new FDA administration doing but protecting corporate profits while endangering the public health. You wonder why health care costs are soaring these days.”
    The issue is that the FDA does not have the statutory legal authority nor the resources to do the job that it needs to do to properly monitor and protect the public from food safety problems and producers who ‘don’t care’ about food safety – remember the peanut butter debacle? For example, the FDA cannot legally order a food recall – notice that the egg recalls have been ‘voluntary’? The problem started long before President Obama took office and will need a concerted Federal legislative effort and proper funding to resolve it. As usual, Washington reacts to problems and does not proactively anticipate them.

  • Sara

    There is something very wrong when a single company is responsible for half a billion eggs on the shelves of American grocery stores at the same time. Look at the size of those barns and the numbers of animals required to lay that many eggs, and it doesn’t take much to figure out that these eggs were produced in horrifying conditions by animals stuffed into impossibly small spaces. It is a recipe for disease and medical disaster.