Austin DeCoster and his son, Peter DeCoster, of Quality Egg, L.L.C. each were sentenced to three months in prison April 13 by Mark W. Bennett, presiding judge of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa. The DeCosters last year pled guilty in a case involving the bribing of a U.S. Department of Agriculture official, the misbranding of eggs and a Salmonella enteritidis outbreak that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, led to 1,939 reported illnesses.
Quality Egg also on April 13 was ordered to pay $6,790,000, which already has been paid. The DeCosters were ordered to pay $100,000, which they already have paid.
The DeCosters and Quality Egg (doing business as Wright County Egg and Environ) originally were brought up on three charges in 2014.
They were charged with giving money to a U.S.D.A. inspector on at least two occasions in 2010 in an attempt to influence him to release for sale shell eggs that the U.S.D.A. had retained for failing to meet standards of the Egg Products Inspection Act. They were charged with misbranding shell eggs by making the eggs appear to be not as old as they actually were. The misbranding began no later than Jan. 1, 2006, and continued until about Aug. 12, 2010, according to the charge.
Finally, they were charged with introducing adulterated shell eggs containing Salmonella enteriditis into interstate commerce in August of 2010.