Bad Egg: Investigators Round Up One of Their Alleged Usual Suspects

The growing Salmonella outbreak has led investigators back to a familiar character: Austin “Jack” DeCoster — head of Wright County Eggs. Investigators have stated that there has been much wrong with Wright Eggs for years from sanitation violations to unsafe work conditions to hiring of illegal immigrants to sexual abuse of female employees.

DeCoster has been described as an “egg mogul” who now faces not only a massive litigation threat but a federal investigation. Wright County Egg is one of two Iowa farms directly linked to the salmonella outbreak and also supplies chickens and feed to both farms.

Iowa’s attorney general in 2000 officially called DeCoster a “habitual violator” of state environmental laws. In 2002, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission fined DeCoster Farms more than $1.5 million in an employment discrimination case brought by hispanic women alleged harassment, abuse and rape at the hands of DeCoster’s supervisors in Iowa.

On the civil side, DeCoster could face a massive tort action alleging negligence, product liability, and even battery. There are also a slew of agricultural statutes that could come into play. The company also faces the usual pressures of a criminal investigation where employees can turn informant or trigger additional liability by lying to federal investigators under 18 U.S.C. 1001.

Source: ABC

18 thoughts on “Bad Egg: Investigators Round Up One of Their Alleged Usual Suspects”

  1. More on the walmart deli meat recall:

    Nationwide meat recall announced
    By the CNN Wire Staff
    August 24, 2010 9:33 a.m. EDT


    “Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease,” according to the USDA. “Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis. However, listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea.

    “Listeriosis can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections in those with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy,” the USDA said.

    The products subject to recall are:

    — 25.5-pound cases of “Marketside Grab and Go Sandwiches BLACK FOREST HAM With Natural Juices Coated with Caramel Color” with the number 17800 1300.

    — 28.49-pound cases of “Marketside Grab and Go Sandwiches HOT HAM, HARD SALAMI, PEPPERONI, SANDWICH PEPPERS” with the number 17803 1300.

    — 32.67-pound cases of “Marketside Grab and Go Sandwiches VIRGINIA BRAND HAM With Natural Juices, MADE IN NEW YORK, FULLY COOKED BACON, SANDWICH PICKLES, SANDWICH PEPPERS” with the number 17804 1300.

    — 25.5-pound cases of “Marketside Grab and Go Sandwiches ANGUS ROAST BEEF Coated with Caramel Color” with the number 17805 1300.
    The meats were produced on dates ranging from June 18 to July 2, 2010. The “Use By” dates range from August 20 to September 10, 2010.

    Wal-Mart noted the recall involves Marketside Grab and Go sandwiches, but not individual packages of deli meat. “We encourage customers who recently purchased this item to return it for a full refund,” the company statement said.


    Gotta love that term “grab and go”–doncha???

  2. And don’t forget about the recent Walmart deli meat recall.

    From Christian Science Monitor (8/24/2010)

    Deli meat recall announced for meat sold at Walmart
    Deli meat recall: Roast beef and ham distributed to delis at the nation’s largest retailer might be contaminated with Listeria bacteria.
    By Associated Press / August 24, 2010

    About 380,000 pounds of possibly tainted deli meat products sold in sandwiches at Walmart stores have been recalled by a New York food company.

  3. frankdawg– The reason the “Invisible Hand” is invisible is so you don’t see it as it picks your pocket and then pokes you in the eye.

  4. Gyges

    I grow all my own organic vegetables, and we used to buy beef from a local farm, but I don’t have the storage capacity to do it that way anymore. Krogers is easier for the little I buy.

  5. “sanitation violations to unsafe work conditions to hiring of illegal immigrants to sexual abuse of female employees”. “habitual violater of state environmental laws”. “could face a massive tort action alleging negligence, product liability, and even battery”. “a slew of agricultural statutes that could come into play”. WOW! Austin”Jack”DeCoster-King of the Multi-Taskers.

  6. Buddha,

    I think this is a hoax, after all I was told that the free market always takes care of bad actors.


    You should make friends with a reputable butcher. The solution to “big businesses taking over everything” is to start going to smaller businesses.

  7. A Y

    Commercial egg, chicken, beef, pork, and dog production operation are all criminal in the way they put profit above humane methods.

    But the era of small farms is just about over, and I’m not ready to become a vegan, so I don’t know the answer. Maybe mad cow disease will do us all in eventually.

  8. Once again we have been fisted by the invisible hand! The wingnuts will try to pain this as a failure of regulators when the root cause is greed combined with the systematic destruction of regulation and oversight in the name of smaller government and free markets.

  9. Too bad they cannot make him eat a large batch of those eggs “over easy.” Or, how about putting them on the breakfast menu at the regulatory agencies in charge of oversight. And as eniobob says, lock the bathroom doors.

  10. eniobob,

    Agreed, but I think that they should be forced to wear an armament of the 15th century called a lockable Chasity Belt. Its made of Iron and it makes it had to wipe. They just drip dry…..


    Now no egging Karl on…..

    This is really case of cracked eggs….I suppose one bad one does spoil the whole dozen.

    Commercial egg production is evil if you have ever seen one in operation.

  11. A nice punishment would be to have these people eat a large omelette,made with these eggs and lock all the bathroom doors.

    “F.D.A. could fix this tubing problem tomorrow, but because the agency is so worried about making industry happy, people continue to die,’ Dr. Smith said.”

  12. KF,

    Then you’ve just made the argument for socialism over capitalism.

  13. Capitalism is organized crime. Trying to regulate the “profits before people” greed out of capitalism is like trying to enforce laws against sodomy.

  14. Another example of serial corporate criminals getting too much consideration from the government until people start getting sick or dying.

    U.S. Inaction Lets Look-Alike Tubes Kill Patients

    “Dr. Robert Smith, an F.D.A. device reviewer who left the agency on July 31 and was among nine agency employees who in 2009 decried the agency’s device approval process as illegal and dangerous, said that the tubing problem, which has gone on for decades, was another example of how the agency failed to protect the public. ‘F.D.A. could fix this tubing problem tomorrow, but because the agency is so worried about making industry happy, people continue to die,’ Dr. Smith said.

    In the meantime, the F.D.A. has issued three alerts to hospitals and manufacturers warning about tube mix-ups, the most recent of which was sent out last month after The Times began asking about the issue. Ms. Pratt said she persuaded one manufacturer, Viasys, to produce neonatal feeding tubes that are incompatible with other tubing. Viasys’s tubing is now used in Sharp’s neonatal intensive-care units, but they are expensive — $13 compared with $1.50 for regular tubes.

    ‘The regulators have been waiting for the manufacturers to come up with a solution,’ Ms. Pratt said, ‘and the manufacturers won’t spend the money to design and produce something different until the regulators force them to. And now the international standards organization is taking forever to get the whole world onto the same page.'” [emphasis added]

    Between this and The Daily Show video Woosty’s still a Cat shared on the “New Dawn” in Iraq thread? I’m all for non-violence, but I’m starting to think there should be an open season on fascists. An open season with a bounty. I’m starting to think that the only way to keep greedy sociopaths from harming society as a whole is to simply kill them. I’m extra cranky right now and I may change my mind as the day goes on, but at this moment a bounty on corporatists sounds really really attractive.

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