| CHICAGO, June 3
CHICAGO, June 3 An Iowa company has agreed to
plead guilty and pay about $6.8 million in fines for selling
contaminated eggs that were linked with making nearly 62,000
people sick in a massive nationwide salmonella outbreak in 2010,
according to consent agreements filed in federal court.
Quality Egg LLC is expected to plead guilty on Tuesday
morning on federal charges of selling eggs mislabeled to hide
how old they were; bribing a federal agriculture inspector at
least twice to approve and allow poor-quality chicken eggs to be
sold to the public; and introducing adulterated food into
interstate commerce, according to documents filed on Monday in
U.S. District Court in Sioux City, Iowa.
Company owners and executives Austin and Peter DeCoster also
were expected to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of
introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Both men
each face paying $100,000 fine and face up to a year in prison,
according to the court filings.
Austin "Jack" DeCoster and his son Peter were once among the
nation's largest producers of shelled chicken eggs. Attorneys
for the men and the company could not immediately be reached for
comment on Tuesday morning.
The 2010 salmonella outbreak involving the DeCosters and
their farms hit just as new federal egg-safety rules had come
online, which required producers to do more testing for
salmonella and take other precautions.
The case is U.S. v Quality Egg, LLC, Austin DeCoster and
Peter DeCoster, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa,
(Reporting by P.J. Huffstutter; Editing by Marguerita Choy)