A ‘habitual offender’ unleashes nearly half a billion salmonella-tainted eggs

Jack DeCoster (Lewiston, Maine Sun-Journal)

By Tom Philpott
Grist

As a jaded observer of the livestock industry, I just sighed when I learned the scale of the current salmonella-tainted egg recall: 380 million eggs, distributed under 10 different brands in 17 different states, all from a single producer – Iowa-based Wright County Farms. Another day, another industrial-ag gaffe imperiling the health of millions.

But then William Neuman’s New York Times piece hipped me to the name of the owner of Wright County Farms: one Austin “Jack” DeCoster. That’s when my sigh became a gasp.

USA Today reports that as many as 1,300 people have already been sickened by the tainted eggs. According to a recent GAO report [PDF], companies recover only about 36 percent of targeted products in a typical recall. That means that literally millions of people stand just an undercooked egg or an unwashed hand away from a nasty case of salmonella.

Jack DeCoster is one of the most reviled names in industrial agriculture. I first heard of him back in 2007, when I visited Hardin County, Iowa, for a story on the ravages of industrial hog production. One day, as a group of disgruntled farmers gave me a tour of their CAFO-scarred county, they muttered darkly about DeCoster. They said he had been run out of Maine for the egregious practices of his vast egg factories, and that he had set up shop in Iowa with massive, highly polluting hog factories. He was cited as the owner of several operations as we passed foul-smelling concentrations of hog buildings, sometimes as many as eight plunked down together in a cluster, each containing thousands of hogs and each draining mass quantities of waste into a single fetid “lagoon.”

Read full post at Grist

9 responses to “A ‘habitual offender’ unleashes nearly half a billion salmonella-tainted eggs

  1. Do you suppose somebody PAID THEM to do it?

    That wouldn’t surprise me either.

  2. Pingback: World Wide News Flash

  3. Pingback: Food For Thought: We Can Have Food And Thought, Or Else Neither « Volatility

  4. Pingback: The Internet and Its Two Kinds of Monopoly « Volatility

  5. Pingback: Iowa OK’d egg farm tied to ‘habitual violator’ | lawyer

  6. I am a 7th grade teacher in NC and came across your site while researching some information about Salmonella for my health class this year. I just wanted to thank you for the great information and articles about Salmonella.

    We would love it if you could write a few articles for us, but I understand if your busy so a link to some of the current articles would be very helpful as well to help us spread trusted resources to other teachers. I have included a link to the site in case you would like to help us out by linking to it, tweeting it, or adding it to your Facebook profile.

    http://www.thefreeresource.com/salmonella-symptoms-facts-and-resources

    Thanks and keep the great resources coming

    Brook Sobey

  7. Pingback: First They Came for the Raw Milk, And I Did Nothing….. « Volatility

  8. Pingback: First they came for the raw milk… « The Bovine

What do YOU think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s