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Lawsuits & Litigation

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Judge Signs Forfeiture Order Against DeCoster’s Quality Egg, LLC


His company’s guilty plea for bribing a USDA egg inspector is costing Austin (Jack) DeCoster’s Quality Egg,LLC an extra $10,000. U.S. District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett has signed a preliminary order of forfeiture ordering Quality Egg, LLC to pay $10,000 “representing proceeds derived from the illegal activity committed by the defendant.” Quality Egg, LLC… Continue Reading

More ‘Ag-Gag’ Bills Could be Decided Before Courts Rule on Challenge


It’s unlikely that the constitutionality of the new “ag-gag” laws of Idaho and Utah will be known until after those states hold legislative sessions in 2015, and maybe even until after another round of lawmaking in 2016. The controversial “ag-gag” statutes, which prevent undercover investigations at animal agriculture facilities, were adopted in Utah in 2013… Continue Reading

Holding Guilty Accountable in PCA Case Taking Time

Much has happened in secret since trial

After the jury verdicts came in for the Peanut Corporation of American criminal trial two months ago, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the trial in Albany, GA showed how “any individual or company that puts the health of consumers at risk by criminally selling tainted food will be caught, prosecuted, and held accountable to… Continue Reading

Salmonella Victims Learn DeCosters Will Be Sentenced in February


The thousands sickened in the 2010 Salmonella outbreak traced to two Iowa egg production facilities received a mixture of good and bad news from the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Victim Notification System last week. In a hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett granted the government’s motion for a consolidated sentencing hearing for… Continue Reading

Government: Plenty of Evidence Backs Up Wilkerson Guilty Verdict


Mary Wilkerson, who was first hired in 2002 to answer the phones and then worked her way up in March 2008 to being manager of quality assurance at Peanut Corporation of America’s Blakely, GA processing plant, was the only company employee to go to trial alongside the Parnell brothers. A federal jury in Albany, GA… Continue Reading

Local District Attorney Decides Not To Prosecute Over Latest Mercy for Animals Video


Workers at the Andrus Dairy near Birnamwood, WI who were captured on video kicking and punching cows won’t be prosecuted, according to Scott E. Niemi, assistant district attorney for Shawano-Menominee Counties. In a “Notice of No Prosecution,” Niemi suggested owner Alan G. Andrus could fire or retrain the employees, and warned that the dairy farm… Continue Reading

Nonprofits Sue FDA Claiming Agency Hasn’t Proven Safety of Animal Growth Drug


A trio of food safety and environmental advocacy groups Thursday filed suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, saying the agency has not sufficiently proven that ractopamine, a drug fed to pigs, cattle and turkey, is safe for animals, humans who eat them, or the environment. Ractopamine, a beta-agonist, increases the rate at which… Continue Reading

DeCoster Defense Team Says Jail for Their Clients Is Not an Option

Gavel and scales of justice

In his many high-profile run-ins with government officials over labor and environmental controversies, the now-71-year-old Austin “Jack” DeCoster got used to people wanting to see him jail. But it never happened, and his lawyers now say neither DeCoster nor his son Peter can be sentenced to jail for their involvement in the 2010 food safety… Continue Reading

Iowa Judge From Controversial Kosher Case to Preside Over Halal Trial


The same federal judge who took criticism from around the country for her involvement in bringing down a large Iowa Kosher meat company five years ago is now scheduled to preside over a criminal trial involving the founder of a major Halal food production and distribution company. U.S. District Judge Linda R. Reade is slated… Continue Reading

Industry Groups Ask Congress to Rescind Parts of COOL to Avoid Tariffs


In a letter to Congress on Thursday, numerous U.S. manufacturing and agricultural interests formally began a campaign to remove elements of the country of-origin labeling (COOL) laws which apply to muscle cuts of meat. They say Congress should act now to rescind offending COOL language before final adjudication by the World Trade Organization (WTO) early next… Continue Reading