2000 sickened: fines and possible jail for Salmonella-in-egg owners

In 2010, eggs produced by farms owned by Jack DeCoster in Iowa sickened at least 2,000 people with Salmonella. The companies recalled 550 million eggs nationwide.

Today, Austin “Jack” DeCoster, 79, and Peter DeCoster, 50, agreed to pay $7 million in fines and forfeitures as part of a federal criminal case scheduled for hearing Tuesday.

egg.farmProsecutors allege Quality Egg on at least two occasions in 2010, including April 12, 2010, offered money to a “public official with intent to influence an official act.”

On April 12, 2010, Quality Egg employees offered a USDA inspector $300 to release eggs for sale that had failed to meet federal standards, according to criminal charges filed in 2012 against Tony Wasmund, a former Quality Egg employee.

Wasmund, 63, of Willmar, Minn., pleaded guilty in September 2012 to conspiring to bribe an egg inspector. His sentencing has been rescheduled four times, leading to speculation prosecutors were using his testimony against the DeCosters.

The trial information also states Quality Egg knowingly sold eggs between Jan. 1, 2006, and Aug. 12, 2010, that were mislabeled to appear fresher than they were.