Egg Titan Pleads Guilty in Salmonella Food Recall Lawsuit

Father & Son Team Behind Massive Salmonella Egg Recall Plead Guilty to Charges

salmonellaOn Tuesday, June 3rd, a father and son team behind one of the largest egg providers, and the largest salmonella-based food recall, in the US have pleaded guilty to charges of violating federal food safety laws, as well as bribery.

Austin “Jack” DeCoster, 79, and his son Peter DeCoster, 51, from Iowa, pleaded guilty to violating food safety regulations, which led to 62,000 people contracting food poisoning because of salmonella, as well as a food recall that covered 550 million eggs in 2010. Their company, Quality Egg, will pay $6.8 million as part of the plea agreement.

The father and son team, as well a former employee who bribed a USDA inspector, will be sentenced at a later date. They each face a possible sentence of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

The plea agreement, filed in Sioux City, Iowa federal court on Monday, June 2nd, said that the company admitted to selling eggs tainted with salmonella between January 2010 until August of that year, when the massive food recall was issued.

The company also admitted to one count of bribery, in which former Quality Egg manager Tony Wasmund and another employee bribed a now-deceased USDA inspector on at least two occasions, one of which was a cash payment of around $300 to influence the inspector to allow the company to release pallets of eggs that had been marked with a red mark because they were unfit for market – usually because they were cracked, dirty, or leaking.

Under Wasmund’s management, the company allegedly circumvented food safety laws in California, Arizona, and other states by putting false expiration dates and fake processing labels on the eggs.

Wasmund cooperated with federal investigators under a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for September.

The salmonella lawsuit’s $6.8 million fine is the largest penalty in history against a food manufacturer in US history.

The Strom Law Firm Protects Citizens Harmed by Delayed Food Recalls

The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm keep a close watch on prescription, product, vehicle, and food recalls in the US. We aim to protect our clients’ health and safety, and hold manufacturers to the highest possible standard of safety. Product recalls are especially important because defective drugs, medical devices, food, and toys can seriously injure or even kill consumers. If you or a loved one have experienced severe, life-limiting side effects from a defective product, food, or drug, and believe that your pain stems from a product or food recall that came too late, you may be entitled to compensation. The Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today.803.252.4800

Leave a Reply