In a statement issued by Ohio Fresh Egg officials about the egg recall, they stated that the farm was holding back eggs from the Croton, Ohio barn where the salmonella outbreak was discovered. It was eventually discovered, after discussions with the FDA that some of the eggs from the contaminated barn were mistakenly sent to a distributor. In the statement they gave, “Ohio Fresh Eggs sincerely regrets the error made on our farm, and we apologize to our customer and to consumers who may have purchased the eggs. We are redoubling our efforts to ensure thorough and ongoing training of our workers so that this situation is not repeated.” Cal-Maine Foods said the FDA had told them about the positive sample.
Earlier in the year 2010, another salmonella outbreak was found on two Iowa egg farms, Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms. Both companies recalled a whopping 550 million eggs in August when the products were linked to as much as 1,600 related illnesses. Austin “Jack” DeCoster owns Wright County Egg and has lent money to the current company in question, Ohio Fresh Eggs. Ohio State officials informed us that DeCoster hid behind some other farmers to get permits for the company in 2004, and that the permits listed two men whom had put up only $10,000 each, while DeCoster had invested $126 million in the four farms, according to testimony from an administrative proceeding there. At the time of the shady dealings, DeCoster was already deemed an “habitual violator” of the environmental laws of Iowa.
Now this egg recall here is a prime example of government, or lack thereof. Why has DeCoster, this habitual violator not gone unpunished? Why has his operations not been closed down, or force him to sell? If it were for habitual crime, like drug possession, drunk driving, or other crimes, he would have been severely punished. Here we have an unethical business man motivated by greed I assume, whom regularly puts millions of consumers at risk each and every day who is allowed to conduct business as usual. His Iowa based farms Wright County Egg/Quality Egg facilities do however, remain banned from selling fresh eggs to the public, but DeCoster related companies are still churning out boatloads of eggs that end up in consumers hands, and ultimately, their stomachs. This habitual offender has a history of salmonella laced eggs which dates back to 1987. This latest episode highlights one potential problem regarding the egg business, which was exposed by the August 2010 massive Egg Recall, in that a few large companies dominate the Egg industry. They regularly collude together, selling each others’ eggs under a vast array of brand names. In the most recent egg recall, distributed by Cal-Maine Foods Inc, and the eggs that were sold were done so under the names of Sunny Meadow, Springfield Farms, and James Farms. These major entities in the egg market which are purportedly competitors, regularly sell and market each others questionable eggs under dozens of different brand names designed to fool the public they have a choice and variety of sellers to choose from. This may be a matter for the antitrust authorities to examine with extreme prejudice.
Bottom line and moral of the story is that DeCoster is still very much involved in producing tainted food that has the potential to reach millions of American’s tables daily, and the only reprimand he has received is a stern letter from the FDA, and a ban on selling fresh eggs from just one Iowa operation. That operation was still selling newly laid, potentially salmonella tainted eggs even as millions of their own eggs were being recalled eggs were being recalled, only difference being they just sent them to pasteurization facilities to be sanitized for use in boxed goods like cake mixes. DeCoster is also the proud owner of industrial hog operations in Iowa, how ’bout them pork chops! So here it is, the FDA, obviously understaffed, over-managed by government, and underfunded, is virtually impotent against this egglomaniac and his egg empire. Egg recalls from salmonella, Cal-Maine Foods and DeCoster related companies apparently won’t be going away anytime in the near future.