Scandals, Cruelty, Violations at Farm Behind Egg Recall

Recall expands to 380 million eggs
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2010 9:38 AM CDT
A sign warns customers of the recall of certain lots of eggs that had been previously sold at a supermarket in Los Angeles, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

(Newser) – Looking for a villain in the massive egg recall announced Wednesday? Then meet Jack DeCoster, head of Wright County Eggs. The farm provided salmonella-tainted eggs to 15 of the 25 restaurants where people have gotten sick, and has, under DeCoster’s leadership, been involved in loads of scandals and health complaints in the past, ABC News reports. In 1996, for example, it was fined $3 million, after the Labor Department found that workers were handling dead chickens with their bare hands, and living next to manure- and rat-infested trailers.

DeCoster has also gotten in trouble for hiring illegal immigrants and tolerating sexual harassment. In 2000, Iowa’s Attorney General dubbed DeCoster a “habitual violator” of the state’s environmental laws. And earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of animal cruelty, after animal rights activists caught workers whipping birds by their necks, leaving rotting corpses in cages with egg-producing birds, and tossing live birds in the trash. The current egg recall has grown to encompass 380 million eggs. Nearly 2,000 people have gotten sick, and the CDC expects more to come.

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