The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, MO has denied appeals from Austin “Jack” DeCoster and his son Peter DeCoster--the pair behind a multistate Salmonella outbreak in 2010 that sickened roughly 56,000 people. The DeCosters’ family-owned company, Quality Egg LLC, was said to be the largest egg producer in the U.S. Now, both father and son--ages 82 and 52, respectively-- will be spending the next 3 months in a Yankton, SD federal prison.
Most of the judges involved decided to uphold a judgment handed down in July by U.S. District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett, who recommended the two be sentenced to 3 months behind bars.
The Salmonella outbreak federal investigation linked to eggs produced by the DeCosters lasted for a whopping 4 years. Ultimately, a plea agreement was reached between the DeCosters, their egg company, and Northern Iowa’s U.S. District Attorney.
The father and son each entered a guilty plea, admitting to distributing adulterated food across state lines. In addition to their 3 month jail sentence, they were also ordered to pay $100,000 in fines. The family company, Quality Egg LLC, did not walk away unscathed. The company plead guilty to a single felony count of bribing an inspector from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a crime that required a hefty $6.8 million fine. The bribery reportedly did not involve either DeCoster.
A full historical summary of the 2010 nationwide egg outbreak can be found at CDC.gov.