A federal court has sentenced two former egg industry executives to jail for their part in a food safety scandal. The sentencing comes amidst a flurry of high-profile foodborne illness outbreaks.
Austin and Peter Decoster’s Quality Egg company “knowingly shipped eggs with false processing and expiration dates to fool state regulators and retail customers about their age and bribed a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector at least twice to approve sales of poor-quality eggs.” Nearly 2,000 illnesses were linked to the eggs, but the Centers for Disease Control says that thousands more were likely sickened. The company paid nearly $7 million in fines.
Prosecutors hope that the sentence sends a strong message that food safety regulations are vital, and will be enforced.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the judge didn’t sentence them to jail, but I’d be disappointed,” food safety lawyer Bill Marler, whose firm represented more than 100 people sickened in the outbreak, said ahead of sentencing.