Supplier of Salmonella Eggs Has Questionable HistoryAug 23, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP
Following news that a second egg producer recalled shell eggs over Salmonella Enteritidis worries—Hillandale Farms of Iowa said the recall involved Hillandale Farms, Sunny Farms, and Sunny Meadow brands names—the CS Monitor writes that two farms linked to the massive recall have less-than-stellar histories.
The two farms that recalled approximately 550 million potentially tainted eggs seem to share ties with an Iowa businessman who “has been cited for numerous health, safety, and employment violations over the years,” quoted the CS Monitor, citing an Associated Press (AP) report.
According to the AP, businessman Austin DeCoster owns Wright County Egg, which is the first recalling farm linked to some of the Salmonella poisoning cases, said the CS Monitor. DeCoster also apparently owns Quality Egg, a chicken and feed supplier to Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms of Iowa, said the CS Monitor, which noted that Hillandale Farms is the second farm involved in the growing egg recall. “DeCoster is no stranger to controversy in his food and farm operations,” said the AP.
It is known that DeCoster’s company agreed to pay hefty fines over allegations about “health, safety, and employment discrimination issues” and has been involved with immigration raids and animal-cruelty allegations, wrote the CS Monitor.
According to the CS Monitor, the recall has spread to 14 states—Arkansas, California, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin—and includes the following brands: Hillandale Farms, Sunny Farms, and Sunny Meadow. Six-egg, 12-egg, 18-egg, and 30-egg cartons and five-dozen cases have been involved, said the CS Monitor, which noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that the investigation into the potential contamination could take months.
The AP report said, quoted the CS Monitor that, “DeCoster's Wright County Egg is already facing at least two lawsuits related to the egg recall…. One is from food distributor Dutch Farms, which says the company used unauthorized cartons to package and sell eggs under its brand without its knowledge. The other is from a person who said they became ill after eating tainted eggs in a salad at a restaurant in Kenosha, Wisconsin.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 2,000 people have been sickened, to date; federal officials expect that number to rise. This outbreak, which health officials believe started in May, is already the largest of its type related to eggs in years and now involves more than a-half billion eggs.
In response to the outbreak, the FDA has activated its emergency operations command center and is also initiating effectiveness checks of the recall, conducting checks at retail stores, wholesalers, and distributors to make sure the recalled shell eggs are being removed from the market.
The industry group United Egg Producers is maintaining a complete list of recalled brands and descriptions, which can be accessed at: http://www.eggsafety.org/mediacenter/alerts/73-recall-affected-brands-and-descriptions