Former egg industry executive Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son Peter DeCoster were charged in a federal court May 21 with selling the eggs responsible for a 2010 Salmonella outbreak that caused thousands of people to become ill and led to the recall of 550 million eggs. The DeCosters were charged with introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce, a misdemeanor that carries a minimum sentence of one year in jail.
Quality Egg LLC, which includes the DeCosters' former network of farms in Iowa, was charged with introducing misbranded food into interstate commerce for selling products from 2006 to 2010 with labels that "made the eggs appear to be not as old as they actually were." The company is also charged with bribing a public official for an alleged 2010 payment to influence a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector to approve shell eggs that had been held back for failing to meet federal standards, the Associated Press reported. Both are felonies.
The DeCosters are expected to plead guilty at June 3 hearings.
Jack DeCoster had previously been involved in a lawsuit with the plaintiffs accusing him of discriminating against workers based off of age, race and national origin. That suit was settled in October 2013, with the terms of the settlement not being released.