A father and son, who are former owners of Maine-based Quality Egg, were given a three-month jail sentence today in federal court for a 2010 salmonella outbreak originating from Iowa-produced eggs. 81-year-old Austin “Jack” DeCoster, and his 51-year-old son Peter pleaded guilty last year to shipping contaminated eggs across state lines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that outbreak likely caused more than 1,900 people to become ill.
"It's somewhat surprising that they did get jail time considering what we've seen in some similar cases," says Jennifer Zwagerman, of the Drake University Agricultural Law Center. "The fact that they got jail time at all is very significant in terms of sending a message from the government and the courts that they are taking food safety and the responsibilities of the corporate world that are providing food products very seriously."
In addition to jail time father and son will each pay $100,000 in fines, Quality Egg will pay $6.79 million. The DeCosters are appealing their jail sentences.